, 1 ;
ARDEN: THE ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING OF A DELAWARE UTOPIA
Eliza Harvey Edwards
Presented to the faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in
Partial Fulfillment of the Requiiements for the Degree of
MASTER OF SCIENCE
•a< -1 (^. I l^^-fyr-^^^
George E. Thomas, Lecturer in Historic Preservation, Advisor
Christa Wilmanns-Wells, Lecturer in Historic Preservation, Reader
,6ayiaG. De Loi*ig^rofessor of Aichite(ituie/
Graduate Group Chairman
y N/\j/ 2,/ I ^^=1 V ^ 2- <^
© 1993 by Eliza H. Edwards. All rights reserved.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS iii
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS iv
FOUNDING OF ARDEN 9
Frank Stephens 10
William L. Price 12
Purchase of the Derrickson Farm 18
Social and Economic Objectives of Frank Stephens and William Price 20
PLANNING OF ARDEN 26
ARCHITECTURE OF ARDEN 43
1900- 1908 47
Gild Hall 68
The Craftshop 70
Arden Church 72
The Cooler 74
Little Arden 74
Continued Development of Arden 75
A. Arden Timeline 125
B. Arden Map, 1910 134
C. Arden Deed of Trust 136
D. Arden Building Names 138
E. Map and Key to Significant Elements of Arden's Plan 140
E. Map and Key to Arden Buildings 143
F. Arden Land Rentals 146
G. Poem from Frank Stephens to William Price 152
H . National Register Nomination Form, 1 973 1 54
I. Price and Dickey Commissions 161
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Henry George 80
2. Frank Stephens 81
3 . William L. Price at Drafting Board. 8 1
4. "Tower House" -- Wayne, Pennsylvania. 82
5. Woodmont. 82
6. W.L. Price House -- 6334 Sherwood Road, Overbrook, PA. 83
7. "Kelty" - W.L. Price House -- Overbrook, PA. Built 1899. 83
8 . Alice Barber Stephens Residence, Rose VaUey, PA. 84
9. Hawley McLanahan Residence, Rose Valley, PA. 84
10. Improvement Houses, Rose Valley, PA - Under Construction. 85
1 1 . Improvement Houses, Rose Valley, PA - Completed. 85
12. Adas of the State of Delaware, Philadelphia, D.G. Beers, 1868. 86
13. Adas of New Casde County Delaware, Philadelphia: D.G. Beers, 1893. 87
14. Derrickson Bam. Southeast Facade. 88
15. United States Geological Survey Map, "Marcus Hook, PA--DE--NJ," 1948. 89
16. ArdenPlan, 1910. 90
17. View of Naaman's Creek. 91
18. View of Naaman's Creek. 91
19. Pageant outside the Arden Inn. 92
20. Tennis on the court along the Village Green. 92
21. "Jumping Rope." Date of photograph unknown. 93
22. Camp Meeting arrangement. 93
23. Arden Entrance Stile. 94
24. Field Theater. 94
25. Bide- A- Wee Interior. 95
26. Arden Tent. 95
27. Homestead, c. 1902-09. 96
28. Homestead, 1993. 96
29. Arden Inn. Rear view from the south. 97
30. Red House. 97
3 1 . Red House. Side view looking towards the Village Green. 98
32. Red House after Craftshop was added in 1913. 98
33. The Monastery. 99
34. Stained Glass Window of Monk in the Monastery. 100
35. Admiral BenBow. 101
36. First Cabin. 101
37. The Brambles. 102
38. Arden Sawmill. 102
39. Second Homestead. 103
40. Second Homestead. 103
41. Second Homestead. First floor interior. 104
42. Second Homestead. Second floor interior. 105
43. Second Homestead. Exterior view of south facade. 106
44. Friendly Gables. 106
45. Green Gate. 107
46. Green Gate, 1993. 107
47. Green Gate. Interior mural. 108
48. Green Gate. Mural detail. 109
49. Robert Woolery's Grocery Store and Post Office. 109
50. Foote House. 1808 Harvey Road. 110
51. Foote House, 1993. 110
52. The Lodge. Southwest view. Ill
53. The Lodge. West facade. 112
54. Rest Cottage under construction, 1909. 1 12
5 5 . Rest Cottage under construction, 1 909. 1 1 3
56. Rest Cottage, 1992. 113
57. Jungalow. 114
58. Katherine Ross Bungalow. Exterior from northwest. 114
59. Katherine Ross Bungalow. Interior view. 115
60. The Brambles, 1911. Under construction. 116
61. The Brambles ("Downs Cottage"). Post-expansion. 116
62. The Brambles ("Downs Cottage"), 1992. 1 17
63. Chestnut Burr. 118
64. CampBeulah. 118
65. Derrickson Bam before conversion to Gild Hall in 1909. 1 19
66. Derrickson Bam after conversion to Gild Hall in 1909. 1 19
67. Craftshop. 120
68. Craftshop, 1993. 120
69. Work produced by the Arden Forge. 121
70. Arden Church. Pencil sketch by William L. Price, 1910. 121
71. The Cooler. 122
72. Rest Harrow. 123
I would like to thank all the people that I came into contact with in Arden during my
research and explorations of the town. A very special thank you to Arden Archives GUd
members Pat Liberman, Joan Ware Colgan and Sally Hamburger who made available the
invaluable resources of the archives and who tolerated my many visits. Don Holcomb and
Peg Aumack (granddaughter of Frank Stephens) also deserve special thanks for providing
historic photographs that were so helpful in putting the Arden puzzle pieces together.
Others who were extremely helpful and hospitable during my research included Arden
residents Rae Gerstine, Sue Rohrbach, Cy Liberman, Ellen Dohnetsch, Jim Semenick,
Ann Berlin, Barbara Fenske, Mike Curtis, and Hugh Roberts. I share with all of them
their enthusiasm for Arden and a desire to celebrate it as a unique American community.
Friend and fellow classmate Elizabeth Bitterman also deserves recognition, for it was with
her that I first began to research Arden. Together we delved into Arden, sharing many long
hours of research and numerous Delaware road trips.
I am especially grateful to my advisor George Thomas and the rest of his family clan not
only for giving me direction and encouragement in my research, but for including me in
many family dinners, making certain that I was provided with sufficient food for thought!
A hearty thank you as well to my reader Christa Wilmanns-Wells who was so enthusiastic,
helpful, thorough, and always full of smiles.
Christie and Jim Bogrette also deserve a very special thanks. This thesis may never have
been completed had it not been for their generosity in sharing their trusty laser printer with
- vu -
Arden... the name evokes a notion of Arcadia, a pastoral ideal, a bucolic place in the
countryside, a Utopia. Arden, Delaware was intended to be just such a place — a
community free from the poverty and suffering so prevalent in turn of the century
America. The name Arden was derived from WilHam Shakespeare's As You Like It, set
in the Forest of Arden where "...a many merry men... live like the old Robin Hood of
England... and fleet the time carelessly as they did in the golden world." i The name
alone makes clear the intent of Arden's founders G. Frank Stephens (1859-1935) and
William L. Price (1861-1916) to establish a community that would demonstrate an
alternative way of life and provide a model for change. In 1900, Price and Stephens
purchased a 162-acre parcel of farmland in northern Delaware, six miles northwest of
Wilmington, where they began to lay the foundations for Arden.
The turn of the century was a tumultuous time in America — a period of tremendous
economic and social change. America was in the midst of industrialization: large
institutions and corporations were being formed; enormous sums of money were being
made; the American population was becoming increasingly urbanized; finance was
growing more centralized; and society and its government was beginning to be dominated
by big business. But, as many learned, growth and progress did not come without their
problems. While the country as a whole was experiencing one of its most productive
^William Shakespeare, As You Like It (NY: Airmont Publishing Co., Inc., 1965), 8.
economic periods, this new wealth was concentrated within a very small segment of the
American population, leading to great economic disparity between the working classes
and the industry leaders. Delaware resident, Henry Seidel Canby, in his memoirs of
childhood during die 1890s, described this era as:
...the economic age of concentration. Individualists of unparalleled energy
were killing individualism for the benefit of their purses, reducing anarchy
to order and chaos to form, in unwitting preparation for a new social order.
Uneducated men, unprincipled, strong-willed, of first-rate ability, were
ruling a continent while a feeble government looked on.2
Due to the growing disparity, the tensions and conflicts of the period were considerable,
cuhninating in cataclysmic labor struggles such as the railroad strike of 1877 and the
Pullman Strike of 1894. Ironically, taking place concurrently was the 1893 Chicago
World Columbian Exposition, the quintessential celebration of America's progress. This
event, occurring amidst die social strife of the period, illustrated the divergent attitudes
toward American progress, exacerbating tensions in society.
The greatest impact of America's industrialization was felt in the cities where
uncontrolled growth had led to unforeseen levels of crime, disease and poverty. Jacob
Riis (1849-1914), a Danish-bom photojoumalist and author best known for his book How
the Other Half Lives (1890), exposed the declining conditions of American cities and
initiated a reform movement aimed at alleviating the wretched tenement conditions and
the other indignities of lower-class urban life. Like Riis, other American audiors also
capitalized on this turbulent time in America, using literature as an instrument for
bringing about change. Among the most influential of these so-called "muckrakers" was
Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), author of ne Jungle (1906), a book that examined the
Chicago meatpacking trade and revealed to die American public the exploitation of
^Henry S. Canby, Age of Confidence: Life in the Nineties (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1934).
immigrant workers and the general corruption of American industry. Authors like Riis
and Sinclair played a critical role during this period. Literature of the period echoed the
various perceptions of the industrial age and exposed some of the deleterious effects of
industry, thereby helping to instigate efforts toward social reform.
All of these political and social events, cries for economic reform, and literary
outpourings set the stage for Arden. Arden represented a culmination of the conflicts
occurring in American society, a desperate plea for change. Frank Stephens, an
accomplished sculptor, and William Price, a distinguished architect, sought to establish a
remedial community that was intended not only as an escape for those living amidst the
burgeoning industrial centers of Philadelphia and Wilmington but as a model for
worldwide economic and social reform. Their strategy for achievmg these goals was to
marry the economic theories of "Single Taxer" Henry George (1839-1897) with the arts
and crafts ideals of Englishman William Morris (1834-1896).
Henry George was among the numerous nineteenth century writers proposing social and
economic remedies for the deteriorating American society (Plate 1). In his book Progress
and Poverty (1879), the title itself expressive of the contrasting impressions of American
society following the Civil War, George proposed his "Single Tax" philosophy, the
strategy of economic reform that was eventually implemented at Arden. In Progress and
Poverty George explained that ironically, poverty had become the outcome of progress —
with the increase of wealth had come an increase of want.^ Progress and Poverty was a
passionate and persuasive call to action:
^Henry George, Progress and Poverty, 1879, Reprint Centenary Edition (NY: Robert Schalkenbach
Foundation, 1979), 10.
So long as all the increased wealth which modem progress brings goes but
to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast
between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real
and cannot be permanent. The reaction must come. The tower leans from
its foundations, and every new story but hastens the final catastrophe.^
George blamed America's growing economic disparity on the private ownership of land.
He explained that material progress had led to increasing land values, and that it was only
a small segment of the population ~ the landowners and large corporations - that
benefited from the progress. To alleviate this destructive concentration of wealth, George
proposed that the form of land ownership be entirely restructured so that land could be
held in common and that all taxes be abolished with the exception of a single tax on land
value. Thus, any increase in land value would benefit a community as a whole rather
than the individual landowner. Furthermore, George argued that levying this one tax
based on the full rental value of land regardless of any improvements would eliminate the
need for any other taxation, bringing in sufficient annual revenues to support the public
services of a given community. His strategy proposed that any excess revenues from land
leases be reinvested in the community to make improvements to roads or other such
Progress and Poverty was an immediate success, selling two million copies in the United
States and being translated into several languages. The book generated great excitement
and resulted in the establishment throughout the United States of numerous Single Tax
associations that actively campaigned for the adoption of George's Single Tax system.
George's plan was first adopted in 1895 in the founding of Fairhope, Alabama, America's
first Single Tax colony. Henry George, a Philadelphian himself, had a particularly
enthusiastic group of followers in the mid- Atlantic region, among them Frank Stephens
and William L. Price who ultimately implemented George's Single Tax system in their
plans for Arden.
William Morris, another nineteenth century writer who proposed a recipe for social
reform, was an additional source of inspiration for the founders of Arden. It was Morris,
the noted English decorative artist, who became one of the leading proponents of the
revival of Medieval arts and crafts. News From Nowhere (1890), Morris' Utopian novel,
outlined an ideal world based on the values of the arts and crafts movement Having
wimessed the degradation of crafts and architecture resulting from the Industrial
Revolution in England, Morris used his Utopian novel to promote the creation of a more
humane state through a resurgence of fine craftsmanship. As News From Nowhere
demonstrates, Morris sought to improve the state of humanity through the quality of
crafts and architecture and to elevate the importance of craftsmen within society. He
argued that the creation of beautiful objects was only possible if craftsmen were provided
with an environment dominated by music, drama, and other arts - an atmosphere suitable
for inspiring creativity.
Looking to both Henry George and William Morris for inspiration and direction, Frank
Stephens and William Price founded Arden. As William Morris recommended, a creative
artistic environment was impossible without first resolving some of the economic issues.
Therefore, to rectify economic inequalities. Price and Stephens adopted Henry George's
strategy of land ownership, thus establishing the second Single Tax community ever to be
developed. With this form of land ownership, Stephens and Price intended to create a
place of social harmony -- a community that was open to all, regardless of economic
class, race, ethnicity, or pohtical association. Price and Stephens took up Moiris'
philosophies to encourage arts and crafts within the community. Stephens and Price
believed that it was this combination of economic and artistic reform that would be the
most effective antidote for the multitude of social ills they saw as so destructive to
American culture at the end of the nineteenth century.
Arden was by no means the only Utopian community developed in America at the turn of
the century. The restive state of American society provided a fertile ground for the
cultivation of Utopias, each seeking to resolve the ills of society through different means.
What makes Arden unique among the numerous Utopian communities founded at that
time is that it continues to thrive today, retaining much of its original character and
building stock. Most of the Utopian communities envisioned at the turn of the century
such as Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft in East Aurora, New York, or Gustav Stickley's
Craftsman Farms in Parsippany, New Jersey, have failed to endure.^ Arden, on the other
hand, acmally expanded. To the south of Arden, two sister communities were established
on adjacent parcels -- Ardentown, a 109-acre community, was established in 1922 and the
63-acre Ardencroft was added in 1950. Because Arden remains intact today, it serves as
an important tribute to political, economic and social sentiments in America at the turn of
the century and a living reminder of the determination of early twentieth century pioneers
committed to social reform.
5 Virginia L. Hamilton, ed., Aurora's Architectural Heritage (East Aurora, NY: SG Press, Inc., 1973). The
town of Roycroft was another American development that grew out of the ideas of William Morris. Elbert
Hubbard, a Larkin Soap executive from Buffalo, New York moved to Aurora to establish Roycroft, a
community in which people could pursue their artistic interests. The town got underway in 1895 but failed
in the 1930s as a result of the Depression.
"Craftsman Farms" pamphlet by the Craftsman Farms Foundation, Inc., 1991. Craftsman Farms was
established in 1908 by Gustave Stickely and intended as a school of arts and crafts for boys. Financial
difficulties delayed the opening of the school and eventuaUy forced Stickley and his family to sell
Craftsman Farms in 1915.
The ideas of Morris and George made up the theoretical foundations of Arden, however,
it was Frank Stephens and Will Price who utilized their collaborative artistic talents to
devise a physical plan for the community. This thesis provides a documentation of the
development of Arden' s physical plan and the evolution of its architecture, illustrating
how Arden' s plan and architecture, reflecting the social objectives of Stephens and Price,
were designed to encourage peaceful living, individualism, artistic creativity, equality,
cooperation among residents, and love of the outdoors. For the purposes of this study,
the examination has been limited to 16 years, from 1900, the year of Arden' s founding, to
1916, the year of architect William Price's death. This study of Arden's architecture
tracks the community's development and maturation process showing how Arden grew
during this 16-year period from a fledgling summer village to a more robust year-round
Using this study as a tool, it is my intent to educate the residents of Arden and the general
public as to the historical significance and value of Arden's building stock and to explain
how the architecture and the overall plan of the community are not only integral to the
original principles on which Arden was founded, but also how they reflect progressive
early twentieth century thinking - a return to simplicity, a rejection of Victorian
excesses, a renewed interest in arts and crafts, a search for an appropriate strategy of
economic reform, and the growing regard for the rural outdoors as a healthy environment
and an inspiration to creativity. The free form and diminutive scale of Arden's
architecture has generally been preserved but there are signs that the community is
gradually undergoing physical change. Arden is young enough that some of its earlier
residents, or at least some of their direct descendants, are still, in fact, living in the
community keeping Arden's early memories alive. But this will not be the case forever.
Arden is currently at a critical juncture. It is hoped that this documentation of Arden and
its architecture will ensure that the principal elements of the community's original
development plan be retained as tangible, interpretive evidence of Arden 's unique
development and its important place in the annals of American history.
FOUNDING OF ARDEN
It was in Philadelphia, home to both of Arden's founders Frank Stephens and William
Price, that the idea for Arden was first conceived. At the turn of the century Philadelphia
was a hub of intellectual activity. Among the numerous professional, artistic and social
clubs were the Philadelphia Single Tax Society and the Ethical Culture Society, two
organizations that were central to the genesis of Arden. The Philadelphia Single Tax
Society, a zealous group of individuals committed to the proliferation of the Single Tax,
was where Frank Stephens and William Price first teamed up to begin formulating their
ideas for Arden. ^ The Ethical Culture Society was like the Philadelphia Single Tax
Society in that it provided an important forum for discussions of social reform efforts and
strategies. While it is uncertain that Price and Stephens were members of this progressive
organization, autobiographical accounts of certain Arden residents suggest that the
Ethical Culture Society played an important role in Arden.'' This link to Arden was due
in large part to the involvement of certain key members, namely Ella Reeve Bloor, one of
Arden's earliest residents, and Joseph Fels, who eventually became Arden's primary
financial sponsor.^ Other Philadelphia clubs and institutions with which Stephens and
Price were both associated include the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Art Club, and the
^Frank Stephens Autobiography, Arden Papers, 5.
'^Ella Reeve Bloor, We Are Many (NY: International Publishers Co., Inc., 1940), 41-3. In Bloor's
autobiography she states that she became a member of the Ethical Culture Society in the early 1890s,
joining Horace Traubel, who at the time was editor of the Ethical Society newspaper. The Conservator.
George Thomas' dissertation "William L. Price: Builder of Men and of Buildings" (1975) states that Horace
Traubel was a very close friend of William Price. Not only did they both have offices in the same building,
but Traubel became actively involved in the establishment of Rose Valley.
^Minutes of the Ethical Society's Board of Trustees Meeting, 1885-1892. Unfortunately, most of the early
membership records of the Ediical Society have not been retained and exact membership information was
unavailable. These minutes, however, show that Horace Traubel and Joseph Fels were on the Board of
Trustees of the Ethical Society. It is presumed that Stephens and Price may also have been members or at
least were closely bnked. Records show that the Price family was involved in the Ethical Society; Emma
Price, Will's wife, appeared in the list of contributors to the society in 1924.
Philadelphia Museum School (now part of the University of the Arts) where Price studied
architecture during the 1880s.^
George Frank Stephens -- always referred to as Frank - was bom in Rahway, New Jersey
in 1859 (Plate 2). With a father who was an artist, Frank gained his appreciation for art
and developed his artistic talent at an early age. He was a determined child with high
energy and big aspirations. As he put it, "I grew up on the farm in a childhood that was
all books and daydreams and dread that all the things worth doing in the world would
have been accomplished by the time I was old enough to have a hand in any of them."^°
Despite this concern, Stephens never had a shortage of dreams. He was always active in
social and political affairs, which provided him with an unending succession of
challenges throughout his life.
A bright student, Stephens attended Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey,
until an eye operation during his sophomore year ended his college career, ^i Due to his
determination, however, Stephens educational path was not to end there, and with
encouragement from his artist father, he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
in Philadelphia in 1875, where he spent the better part of ten years as a student of
^Philadelphia Sketch Club Membership Book, Miaofilm #3666. Frank Stephens was a member of the
Philadelphia Sketch Club from 188 1 to his death in 1935. His brother Charles was the president of the
Club from 1913 to 1916. William Price became a member of the club after the founding of Arden. His
membership was sporadic: 1902-05, 1907-09, 1916. Stephens had helped to found the Art Club,
l^rank Stephens Autobiography, Arden Papers,
^^Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Student Records. It was at the Academy that Stephens met his first
wife, Caroline "Caddie" Eakins (1865-1889), sister of the notable artist Thomas Eakins (1844-1916).
Eakins was an instructor at the Academy while Stephens was a student. Despite Stephens marrying Eakins'
sister in 1885, it is reported by Gordon Hendricks in his book The Life and Work of Thomas Eakins (1974)
Stephens claimed that it was Henry George's Progress and Poverty which he read in
1886 that first started him thinking of creating a Utopian state ~ a community that would
implement and prove the legitimacy of Henry George's aims.
With the first reading of Progress and Poverty I knew I had found the
answer to the problems which had perplexed me and haunted me all my
life. I could not put the book down unfinished and with triumphant
certainty that has never since known a misgiving or a doubt I closed the
glorious final chapter, "The Problem of Individual Life," in my judgment
the highest flight of religious thought in literature, with the knowledge that
there was a purpose in Uving, a work worth doing, that should exceed the
utmost of my childish dreams and hopes. ^^
While never forgetting the initial impact of George's book, Stephens put his visionary
aspirations on hold in order to establish his career. Stephens understood the realities of
his economic situation, aware that he must focus on getting financially grounded before
being able to realize his dream. Thus, following completion of his studies at the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1885, Stephens joined some of his fellow
classmates and began a Philadelphia decorative arts business, Stephens, Cooper & Co.,
specializing in plaster casting, stone and wood carving, and decorative marble work. The
firm, run by a team of four artists - Frank Stephens, Colin Campbell Cooper, Jr., Jesse
Godley, and Walter J. Cunningham^'* -- was involved in numerous projects, among them
the decorative work of the Philadelphia City Hall. The firm prospered, due in large part
that Frank Stephens was one of the antagonists in Eakins' troubles in 1886. Stephens apparently played an
instrumental role in the dismissal of Eakins from the Academy faculty in 1886, making the claim that
Eakins had been behaving inmiorally, exposing nude models to his students.
l^Frank Stephens Autobiography, 4, Arden Papers.
I'^Stationery of the Stephens Cooper and Co. firm was found in Frank Stephens' papers at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts. The two letters found were dated January 16, 1890 and January 27, 1903,
respectively. The letterhead of the firm is on each of these letters, showing that the firm was in existence
from as early as 1890 until after Arden was underway. The letters also show that the firm changed
locations from 1 13 North 12th Sfreet in 1890 to 15 South 18th Street in 1903.
to its manufacturing of terra cotta, a highly popular architectural material at the turn of
the century. ^^
Between 1886 and 1900, Stephens spread himself between his career and the
promulgation of Henry George's economic philosophies. Stephens became a personal
friend of Henry George, a friendship that lasted until 1897 when George died in the
middle of his second New York City mayoralty campaign. George's death, however, did
little to deter Stephens from his efforts to disseminate George's system of economic
reform. Stephens was particularly active in the Philadelphia area where he was a member
of the Philadelphia Single Tax Society, convincing throngs of Philadelphians of the
importance and worthiness of George's philosophies. Among the Philadelphia society's
accomplishments was the organization of the Shakespeare Club which was developed as
a means of training Single Taxers to become competent public speakers and, thus, more
effective in their efforts to generate support for Henry George's Single Tax strategy. ^^
Stephens' participation in other Philadelphia professional and social clubs also helped
him to further increase the number of Single Tax devotees. Among the more zealous of
the Philadelphia Georgists (as Single Tax enthusiasts became known), was the notable
architect William L. Price.
William L. Price
William Lightfoot Price was bom in 1861 in Wallingford, Pennsylvania to James Martin
Price and Sarah Lightfoot Price (Plate 3). By the time that he and Frank Stephens were
introduced, Price had an established architecture practice which was concentrated on
^^Frank Stephens Autobiography, Arden Papers, 5.
residential design work throughout the Philadelphia region. The success of Price's fmn,
however, was not enough to quell the general dissatisfaction with American society that
he shared with Stephens. Despite the fact that his practice was being fueled by the
enormous wealth generated in America at this time. Price could not ignore the disparities
that were resulting from this increasing wealth. Disturbed by the state of American
society. Price became concerned with ways he could contribute both his financial success
and his design skills to the resolution of some of America's most plaguing issues.
Price's generous, idealistic ways were best described by Katharine Ross, one of the
trustees of Arden, who referred to him as "a great humanitarian who strove, not for the
need of a day, but for all the future; whose love of justice extended to all the sojourners
on this fruitful earth. .."^^
Before embarking on Arden, WUl Price had been involved in architecture for over twenty
years. He began work in 1878 at the age of 17 in the office of Philadelphia architect
Addison Hutton. Three years later he joined up with his brother Frank, who had been
working in the Philadelphia office of architect Frank Fumess, to establish their own
practice. Together, the two brothers rode the wave of suburban development in
Philadelphia, sustaining a successful residential design practice well into the 1890s.i^
The first important commission attained by the Price Brothers firm was in 1888 when
they were asked to be the architects for Wendell and Smith, a Philadelphia real estate
development company, in their speculative residential project in Wayne, Pennsylvania,
along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. For this project, the Price Brothers
^"^Katherine F. Ross, "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met," February 8, 1949.
l^Geoige E. Thomas, "William L. Price (1861-1916), BuUder of Men and of Buildings," (Ph.D. diss.,
University of Pennsylvania, 1975).
designed a number of prototype homes, all of similar detail and material, utilizing local
stone on the first floor and wooden clapboard or shingles above (Plate 4).i^ These
houses, designed for Wayne's quarter-acre lots, were to be situated in the middle of each
lot, set well off the street. For its time, the Wayne development was considered quite
large, with several square miles of roads. All roads of the community were at right
angles, creating an ordered, uniform grid plan. 20
The Prices' involvement with Wendell and Smith on suburban developments continued
into the 1890s with work on Overbrook Farms.^^ Overbrook, a 168-acre development
near City Line and Lancaster Avenues between 58th and 68th Streets, got underway in
1892. This community, like Wayne, was also laid out in a grid pattern. Appealing to a
conservative middle-class market, Overbrook offered a variety of single family and semi-
detached house designs. The Price Brothers offered homes that were a bit more refined
than those at Wayne. The Overbrook homes tended to be cut stone on the first floor with
stucco and half-timbering on the upper floors. The stone of the homes in Overbrook was
more carefully cut than that at Wayne, contributing to the comparatively polished quality
of the Overbrook homes (Plate 6). The Overbrook homes illustrate Price's method of
breaking up walls into many planes to allow for more windows, thereby letting in as
much light as possible, an important characteristic of Price's house designs.22
Into the 1890s Will Price was also involved in designing large, elaborate suburban
mansions for the Philadelphia aristocracy, providing him with some of his most lucrative
l^ibid., 67-7 L
and most well-known commissions. Among these commissions were estates for Alan
Wood of Alan Wood Steel in 1892 (Plate 5), Edward Bok of Curtis Publishing Company
in 1898, and financier John Gibnore in 1899.23 For these prominent clients. Price
designed grand, opulent homes that conspicuously portrayed their wealth.
In 1893, at age 32, Price moved with his wife Emma from a rowhouse in West
Philadelphia to a home of his own design in the suburb of Overbrook (Plate 6).24 It was
in Overbrook that Price's social progressivism seems to have first taken hold. By this
time Price had joined up with the Philadelphia Single Tax Society and had begun to
participate in the society's crusade to raise social consciousness of the economic
injustices and to initiate change. The Prices' Overbrook home became a center of activity
for Single Taxers and the site of Philadelphia Shakespeare Club rehearsals.25 In fact, the
Price's second Overbrook home, known as "Kelty" (Plate 7), was designed with a stage
on the third floor where these Shakespearean performances would be held.^^
Price's advocacy of reform eventually culminated in the establishment of two
experimental conmiunities: Arden in 1900 and Rose Valley in 1901. These communities
were designed not to achieve the most valuable, most marketable plan, as was the case in
Wayne and Overbrook, but to achieve a desired social behavior. Rose Valley was Price's
own Utopian venture that he undertook in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, roughly
fifteen miles west of Philadelphia. Although conceived as a community intended to
^^George E. Thomas, "William L. Price, Architect: "Prophet Without Honor," in A Poor Son of Heaven..
A Good Sort of Earth (Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine Conservancy, Inc., 1983), 23.
23Thomas, "WUliam L.Price (1861-1916), BuUder of Men and of BuUdings," 1975. WiU and Emma
Price's first home in Overbrook was at 6334 Sherwood Road.
^^Susanna Martin Price, "The Story of the Price Lightfoot Family," 1929.
26Thomas, "WUliamL. Price (1861-1916). BuUder of Men and of BuUdings," 1975. After six years of
living at 6334 Sherwood Road, Will and Emma moved to "Kelty" in 1899 and lived there for three years
until they moved to Rose Valley in 1902.
integrate economic classes. Rose Valley was not, like Arden, established as a Single Tax
colony with an entirely restructured system of land ownership. Instead, Rose Valley was
founded principally as a craftsman community, with its purpose being "the manufacture
of structures, articles, materials and products involving artistic handicraft."^'^
Rose Valley and Arden were being developed simultaneously and, due to Price's
involvement in both, shared some of the same fundamental ideas, namely the William
Morris-inspired emphasis on the arts and crafts. Also like Arden, the buildings at Rose
Valley consisted of a combination of rehabilitation as well as new construction. Built in
an abandoned miU town, Rose Valley adapted existing buildings and ruins to new uses;
die old mill was transformed into craft shops, and the former tenant houses were
converted into Rose Valley's "Guest House."
All of Rose Valley's buildings demonstrated Price's new mode of architecture (Plates 8-
11). Price left behind the historicized architecture utilized in many of his suburban
mansions and looked toward a new architectural form, one which emphasized simplicity,
regional contextualism, use of local materials and artsmanship. Price realized that the
most appropriate architecture was not borrowed from the past but developed according to
society's current needs. Determined to popularize his new architectural manner. Price
began to write more prolifically, publishing books and contributing articles to national
periodicals such as the American Architect and Building News, House and Garden, The
Craftsman and Ladies ' Home Journal?-^ In his writing. Price argued for an architecture
27Ayres, "A Poor Sort of Heaven; A Good Sort of Earth," 15. William Price purchased the land for Rose
VaUeyon April 29, 1901.
^^William L. Price, "Choosing Simple Materials for the House" in Country Homes and Gardens of
Moderate Cost. ed. by Charles F. Osborne (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1907); Wilham L. Price,
"Decorative Treatment of Plaster Walls," The BrickbuiUer, Vol. 20, 181-90, 191 1; WilUam L. Price, "The
House of the Democrat,"77z£' Craftsman. Vol. 21, 2, 191 1; William L. Price, "Possibilities of Concrete
that did not mirror the past but that was suitable for twentieth century American society.
In 1907 Price wrote that "you cannot pluck up your English or Italian or Colonial by the
roots and plant it here, there and everywhere and get results that are worth while.
Architecture to be fit, must fit need and purpose and environment - fit the living purpose
not the dead precedent."^^ The buildings designed for Rose Valley and Arden
demonstrate Price's use of this more appropriate architecture.
Like so many of the other Utopian communities founded during this period, Rose Valley
survived only a short time. By 1910, Rose Valley faced insurmountable financial strains,
teetered on the brink of bankruptcy and was forced to close its furniture and craft shops.^o
Thanks to sympathetic, deep-pocketed supporters of the community, all of the
outstanding loans on Rose Valley were paid off leaving Price free of any personal
financial debt^i While Rose Valley's buildings still exist today, and the community
continues as an artists' center, it does not carry on as the organized Utopia that it was
originally intended to be. Due in part to Rose Valley's decline, however. Price began to
give more time to the development of Arden in 1909 as the discussion of Arden's
Construction from the Standpoint of Utility and Art," American Architect and Building News, 89, 1579,
March 3, 1906.
2^ce, "Choosing Simple Materials for the House" in Country Homes and Gardens of Moderate Cost.
30Ayres, "A Poor Sort of Heaven; A Good Sort of Earth," 21.
32price's position as a trustee of Arden kept him involved in the progress of that community despite his
apparent affinity for Rose Valley. Therefore, as Rose VaUey experienced its decline, there is evidence that
Price shifted his emphasis somewhat, becoming more active in the design of dwellings in Arden,
particularly after 1908.
Purchase of the Derrickson Farm
The Derrickson property, a 162-acre farm six miles north of Wihnington, was the area
chosen by Stephens and Price as a suitable location for their Utopian community (Plates
12-13, 15). Surrounded by woodlands on all sides and extending along Naaman's Creek,
the property provided the bucoUc setting so essential to the intentions of Arden's
founders. The proximity of the property to the new tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad was also critical because it afforded city residents from Philadelphia and
Wilmington easy access to the new community. ^3
The establishment of Arden followed on the heels of Stephens' attempt in 1895 to
convert the entire State of Delaware into a Single Tax state.^^ Stephens thought that if he
could convince one state to adopt the Single Tax he would be able to demonstrate the
merits of this form of economic system and see it become the way of the future. After
Stephens' rather overzealous attempt to impose Henry George's ideologies upon the state
of Delaware proved to be futile, landing him and his Single Tax accomplices in jail,
Stephens resolved himself to the smaller, more realistic plan of Arden.
With the design knowledge of planner and architect William Price, Stephens' Single Tax
vision finally began to come to fruition in 1900 with the purchase of the Derrickson
Farm.35 The 162-acre farm was purchased from Jacob Derrickson on June 12, 1 900.^6
This property, put in Stephens name, was purchased for $9,000; $2,500 was paid in cash
^^Atlas of New Castle County Delaware (Philadelphia: G. Wm. Baist, 1893). Interestingly, the railroad is
somewhat of a paradox. One of the largest industries of the late nineteenth century, the railroad, on the one
hand, contributed to the growing economic disparity in this country, but it also provided transportation
access to emerging Utopian communities such as Arden which sought to provide refuge from this type of
3'^Frank Stephens Autobiography, Arden Papers, 6.
35Register of Deeds, Wilmington, DE, Deed Book V21, 84, January 13, 1908.
^^Register of Deeds, Wihnington, DE, Deed Book G17, 345, June 12, 1900.
with the remainder in a mortgage. ^"^ At the time the Derrickson Farm was purchased in
1900 there were only a few buildings existing on the property: a farmhouse, bam (Plate
14), and various small outbuildings. ^^ In accord with Will Price's values to preserve
regional character, these buildings were not demoUshed but converted into new uses and
adapted into the community of Arden.
The establishment of Arden would have been nearly impossible had it not been for the
financial support of Joseph Pels (1853-1914) a Philadelphia soap manufacturer and
Single Tax advocate. Pels, heir to the Pels-Naptha Soap fortune, played a critical role in
Arden from its inception, providing the financial resources necessary to see the project
off the ground. A proponent of the teachings of Henry George, Pels spent his life
devoted to the elimination of poverty and to the provision of work for the unemployed.
His position of wealth allowed him to be the financial backer for a number of
experimental communities. In addition to several communities in England, Pels was a
contributor to Pairhope, Alabama -- America's first Single Tax colony -- founded five
years before Arden.^^ To Arden, Pels also gave frequent donations, without which the
town may not have been able to survive.^*^
^^Discussions with Joan Ware Colgan, December 1992.
39 Arthur Dudden, Joseph Fels and the Single Tax Movement (Philadelphia, PA: Temple Univ. Press,
^Arden Club Talk, February 1909 and March/ April 1909. Both of these papers report on the generous gift
made by Fels. The first gift was in January when he paid off a portion of the mortgage thus freeing up 35
acres of land on the Sherwood side for addtional development. Then, again in February, Fels contributed
$5,000 for Arden's building efforts.
Social and Economic Objectives of Frank Stephens and William Price
Brought together by their mutual interest in Henry George's Single Tax system and their
shared passion for the arts. Price and Stephens made a good team -- Stephens the dreamer
and Price the more grounded professional.
Stephens' and Price's plan for Arden was founded on the notion that economic
circumstances had to first be rectified before social conditions could improve:
We had learned William Morris' truth that nothing can be done for Art
until we have bridged the terrible gulf between the rich and poor. We
were so disgusted with civilization that we determined then and there to go
out into the open and make a better one...^^
Thus, treating Arden as their social ideal. Price and Stephens implemented Henry
George's economic principles at Arden, believing as George did that "the earth is the
common heritage of all mankind," and that progress and happiness were only truly
possible if men were given equal access to the earth for their use.
While it was the intention of Price and Stephens to deed tiiis land to humanity forever,42
Arden was set up as a trusteeship, in keeping with Georgist principles. In October 1901
the property was put into the hands of Arden's first trustees: Frank Stephens, William
Price and Frank Martin (a member of Price's Philadelphia architectural fmn).43 This
form of land ownership was considered by Price and Stephens to be far superior to
private land ownership because it allowed for the community as a whole, rather than a
^^"Arden Book," 1992, 5. This statement was taken from Stephens' address to the International Conference
on the Taxation of Land held at Oxford University in 1923.
42studs Terkel, American Dreams: Lost and Found (NY: Pantheon Books, 1980), 288. In this book,
Elizabeth Ross, a resident of Arden and the daughter of Katherine Ross (one of the early trustees of Arden),
gives a concise, three sentence description of Arden: "Frank Stephens, who was an actor and lecturer, made
some money in the terra cotta business. He took the money, and with a Philadelphia architect, bought this
160 acre farm in Delaware. They deeded it to humanity forever."
"^^Register of Deeds, Wilmington, DE, Deed Book V18, 36, October 17, 1901.
single family or corporation, to benefit from appreciating land values. They believed in
Henry George's conviction that by reforming land ownership practices, poverty could be
avoided: "A civilization is possible in which the poorest could have all the comforts and
conveniences now enjoyed by the rich; in which prisons and almshouses would be
needless, and charitable societies unthought of."^
Arden was structured so residents were granted 99-year renewable leases on their lots.
Lot improvements were to have no bearing on the rental rates assigned to the lots.
Annual rents on the individual parcels were to cover the "Single Tax" on the land and the
public services of the community. Any surplus revenues were to be used to make
community improvements. This land system, implemented in Arden, recognized the
common right of all to use of the land and ensured that land speculation was never to
occur in Arden.
Once the economic issues had been addressed. Price and Stephens turned to William
Morris for direction regarding the social organization of the community. From Morris,
Stephens and Price borrowed the concept of creating a conmiunity of craftsmen that
would gain their creative inspiration by working within an environment dominated by
music, drama and other arts. Basing the social organization of Arden on the craft guild,
the community was broken down into medieval style guilds, each focusing on a specific
area of artistic, social or cultural activity within the community. The different Arden
"gilds" included the Athletic Gild, Musicians' Gild, Players' Gild, Craftsmen's Gild and
^ Arden Leaves, No\emheT 1910.
With the tenets of Henry George and William Morris in place, Price and Stephens sought
to achieve heightened individualism, freedom, harmony and cooperation. Furthermore,
they wanted to ensure that the community was non-restrictive, inviting people of any
class, race or religious affiliation to come to Arden.
At Arden, not only did Price and Stephens want to provide a more enjoyable lifestyle for
themselves, but they wanted to demonstrate a better way of life for all, even those in the
city. Unlike most nineteenth century suburbs, Arden was not merely turning its back on
the city and all of its problems. Ardenites acknowledged the attributes of the countryside
and the remedial qualities of nature, but they never forgot the more dismal conditions of
the city still in desperate need of change.
The country means much. It promises health, the grandeur of nature, the
sublimities of rest and tranquility. But it is the peace and the silence of the
armistice. The battle awaits. In the city is the multitude, the multitude
who knows no rest from exacting labor who know no tranquility amid the
[ ] of the bUnd machine.'^^
The achievement of all of the goals set forth by Price and Stephens was hardly
immediate. As the evolution of the planning and the architecture illustrates, it took many
years for them to see the fruits of their labor. Nonetiieless, remaining committed to
Arden and their cause, Stephens, Price and the other residents of Arden never let their
energy and ambitions subside. They were always campaigning, hoping to encourage
others to join in their fight and to advocate the alternative lifestyle that was being
developed in Arden. A message, to 'those who have,' appeared in the Arden Leaves in
October 1911: "Upon the foundation of a just communal land tenure, as preached by
Henry George, we are making in Arden, slowly and thoroughly a working model of a
^^Arden Leaves, January 1910.
civilization which shall know more of the beauty of life and art than we have found in the
Price and Stephens attempted at Arden to prove that the implementation of George's
ideologies, in conjunction with a revival of the arts and crafts, were enough to solve the
ills of American society.
Early Residents of Arden
Due to the variety of social and economic goals hoped to be achieved at Arden, the
community attracted a diverse group of people. For some die notion of tiie Single Tax
was of utmost importance in their decision to go to Arden, whUe for others Arden
represented a haven where they as artists would be encouraged to create, inspired not
only by the natural surroundings but by others living around them with a similarly artistic
orientation. More often tiian not, people were lured to Arden because it represented an
alternative to urban living. Arden was a weekend or vacation destination for some, while
for others it was more of a year-round living situation. In short, Arden became home to
those looking for change.
Among the most notable people known to have resided in Arden for a time were the
celebrated author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), poet Harry Kemp (1883-1960) and
communist Ella Reeve Bloor (1862-1951), exemplifying the type of progressive tiiinkers
attiacted to the community. Sinclair tiirough his novels and Kemp through his poetry
dealt with subjects of modem life, articulating their commitment to the cause of the
impoverished and thereby explaining their attraction to Arden, a community with one of
its principal objectives being the elimination of poverty ."^^ Ella Reeve Bloor, commonly
known as "Mother Bloor," was attracted to Arden because of the town's commitment to
individualism. A proclaimed communist, Bloor was interested in living in Arden because
it encouraged people to be free thinkers.'*^
Poet Harry Kemp described Arden in 1911 as consisting of "Single Taxers, Anarchists,
Socialists, Communists — folk of every shade of radical opinion... who here strove to
escape the galling mockeries of civilisation and win back again to pastoral simplicity."'*^
Arden resident Scott Nearing, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania,
gave a similar portrait of Arden in 1913, describing it as having a "tolerant ideological
atmosphere... with Socialists and single-taxers, and anarchists, and all kinds of people...
'^^Before arriving at Arden, Sinclair and Kemp had both been in search of change for a considerable time,
busily seeking alternative living situations. Before learning of Arden in 1910, Upton Sinclair had lived in
several alternative lifestyle communities, including Helicon Home Colony in Englewood, New Jersey, his
own attempt at an alternative community. The Helicon Home Colony was begun by Sinclair in 1906,
intended to be a cooperative home situation where people could share in cooking and child care and have
time enough for themselves to spend on their creative endeavours. Due to a fire which destroyed Sinclair's
dream, the colony was short lived, lasting only four months until March of 1907. Following this attempt at
his own Utopian community, he bounced all over the country, finally ending up in Fairhope, Alabama, the
first single tax colony ever established. The Spring of 1910 brought him to Arden.
Harry Kemp took a similarly indirect path to Arden, taking time out to experience other Utopian or semi-
utopian communities along the way. Kemp's first stop was at Elbert Hubbard's Royaoft, an arts and crafts
community in East Aurora, New York. In 1905, he spent time at Bemarr MacFadden's Physical Culture
City in Helmetta, New Jersey, an extremist community that emphasized perfect physical health, where
nudity or at least semi-nudity was the norm. And in 1910, before coming to Arden, he was at the Home
Colony in Washington, an anarchist community whose residents practiced free love.
^^Bloor, We Are Many, 83-4. It is presumed that Ella Reeve Bloor was the one who introduced Upton
Sinclair to Arden. She and Sinclair had apparently known one another before 1910 when Sinclair arrived in
Arden. In her autobiography, Bloor explained that following the pubhcation of The Jungle in 1906,
President Roosevelt organized a commission to investigate the Chicago stockyards to see if what had been
written by Sinclair was in fact the truth. Bloor reported that since Sinclair could not make the trip to
Chicago he asked her to take his place and to accompany the commission there. Curiously, it was this trip
in 1906 that gave her the name "Bloor." She traveled to Chicago with another investigator Richard Bloor,
and for the purposes of traveling she felt it was more appropriate to travel as Mr. and Mrs. Bloor. After this
point, the name stuck. Interestingly, it was this trip made to Chicago that proved Sinclair's reports to be
accurate, eventually leading to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug and Meat Inspection Acts of 1906.
^°Harry Kemp, Tramping on Life: An Autobiograpical Narrative, (NY: Boni and Liveright, 1922), 347.
and conservatives with no ideas at all.'"^^ Clearly, homogenity was not to be found in
Arden. There was a mixture of nature worshippers, spiritualists, political liberals, and
even businessmen. The characteristic which most every Ardenite shared, however, was
the ability to dream.
It is true we are dreamers, we of Arden, and why should we not go on
dreaming who, having had some dreams, say of a village without a
landlord, of a social life equal alike to rich and poor, of an art life neither
the toy of the wealthy nor the prostitution of the gifted, have already seen
those dreams come true?^^
49 Arden Film, 1970s.
PLANNING OF ARDEN
Due to its characteristically rustic landscape and modest architecture, Arden does not get
the acclaim that it deserves as an important early planned American community. This
impression of Arden, however, fails to recognize the community's physical core
attributes. The cohesive physical plan of Arden, which has changed relatively little over
the past 90 years, was one of the most important tools used to achieve the social and
economic goals of Stephens and Price, and is one of the primary reasons that Arden' s
unique social characteristics are still evident today. Stephens and Price used the plan as a
physical model to reinforce their Single Tax aims, designing Arden to correspond with
the aspects of communal land ownership promoted by Henry George. The variety of
elements incorporated into Arden 's physical plan were to ensure that residents utilized the
outdoors to the fullest, that dwellings remained small, that sociability and neighboriiness
were developed through constant social interaction, and that cooperation was encouraged
by providing indoor and outdoor common areas intended for shared community activities.
The physical plan of Arden, attributed to William Price, was formally in place by 1910
(Plate 16). 51 Price took a pragmatic approach to the plan, making certain that it was
rational, economical and suited to the residents' needs and the community's goals. Arden
may not have shared qualities of the upscale, manicured suburbs characteristic of late
nineteenth and early twentieth century America, but this is because Arden had different
goals. Unlike residential developments such as Overbrook or Wayne, Price's earlier
51 Arden Map, 1910. The earliest known plan of Arden dates from 1910. This map shows all roads, paths,
common areas, and leaseholds.
communities, Arden was not a speculative real estate venture but a social experiment, and
therefore its plan was designed accordingly.
As developed, Arden embodied many important planning concepts, implemented at a
time when town planning had not yet formally gotten off the ground in America. ^^
Incorporated into Arden were the progressive planning ideas of some of the foremost
landscape designers of the nineteenth century, in particular, American landscape designer
Frederick Law Ohnsted (1822-1903) and English planner Ebenezer Howard (1850-1925).
Olmsted, Howard, and Andrew J. Downing before them, were among those nineteenth
century landscape enthusiasts who set into motion the idea that landscape could be used
as a means of social reform. Price's careful plan for Arden suggests that he too saw the
landscape as an effective tool for bringing about desired social change.
Ohnsted, best known for his designs of Central Park in New York City and other urban
parks throughout the country, believed landscape design to be a means of infusing social
change. Olmsted postulated that landscape design could effectively restore moral and
social character of American society, especially in American cities where he had
witnessed such a profound change in social relations, particularly in the growing division
between the classes. Olmsted, through his urban park designs, urged this restorative
power of the landscape and its impact on character development, believing that parks
were neutral ground where people of all different classes could interact, a place which
surely provided relief from the less desirable aspects of urban life.^^ Arden was also
^^larence S. Stein, Toward New Towns for America (Liverpool: The University of Liverpool Press, 1951),
12; Christensen, The American Garden City. It's generally believed that community planning did not get
underway in America until around 1915 when the Journal of the AlA began to publish some of the new war
communities springing up in England, especially those of Raymond Unwin.
^^Thomas Bender, Toward an Urban Vision (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1987, orig. ed.
1975), 178. In the chapter entitled "Cityscape and Landscape," Bender presents certain views which
designed to be this type of a democratic meeting place where all could be on equal
ground, not separated by class distinctions.^
Compared to Frederick Law Olmsted, Ebenezer Howard was more of a planner than a
landscape designer, but like Olmsted, Howard advocated the manipulation of a landscape
to shape social behavior. The publication of Howard's two books ~ Tomorrow: The
Peaceful Path to Real Reform in 1898 and a revised version of the same book published
as Garden Cities of Tomorrow in 1902 -- were the means by which Howard transmitted
his planning ideals for industrial society. Howard was in large part responsible for setting
in motion the twentieth century town planning movement both in England and in
America. Howard devised plans according to his own understanding that men are
inherently cooperative and egalitarian. This interest in cooperative living would explain
why Howard's planning ideas appealed to Price and ultimately showed up in his plan for
Howard was part of the decentralization movement that advocated the establishment of
new communities on virgin sites, detached from urban centers. These communities,
which he coined "garden cities" were considered to be a more controlled strategy of
development than the furious rate of growth experienced by industrialized cities in the
challenge Olmsted, suggesting that his park designs may not be worthy of all the acclaim that Olmsted has
received. One of the writers that Bender cites is Seymour Mandelbaum who argued that Central Park was
more often used by the wealthy than by the lower class. Bender also cites Jacob Riis' How the Other Half
Lives (1890) in which is mentioned the fact that few slum children had ever seen Central Park.
5^1t must be noted that some of Olmsted's landscape ideologies are offshoots of the writings of A. J.
Downing. It was Downing who first introduced to America the notion of landscape as a means of
impacting social character. In The Architecture of Country Houses, first published in 1850, Downing
stated that "the happiest social and moral development" of people was easily achievable if they resided
amid the "peace of sylvan scenes, surrounded by the perennial freshness of nature, enriched without and
within by the objects of universal beauty and interest." AJ. Downing, The Architecture of Country Houses
(NY: DaCapo Press, 1968, orig. ed. 1850), 257-8.
nineteenth century. In designing his garden cities, Howard hoped to slow the migration
of people away from agricultural land to urban centers by making country living more
attractive than city living. ^^
Like Ohnsted and Howard, Price was responding to the physical and social deterioration
of the American city in his plan for Arden. Living in Philadelphia, Price had wimessed
firsthand the extreme levels of crime, pollution, disease and overcrowding caused by the
uncontrolled urban growth. It was only logical, therefore, that the physical plan of Arden
conceived by Price was to contrast in every way possible with the typical American city.
Instead it would provide a refuge from the physical chaos and commotion associated with
Price proposed a comprehensive plan for Arden so that development would be controlled
just as Ebenezer Howard had recommended. Howard believed it was essential "that there
should be unity of design and purpose -- that [a] town should be planned as a whole, and
not left to grow up in a chaotic manner... A town, like a flower, or a tree, or an animal,
should, at each stage of its growth possess unity, symmetry, completeness, and the effect
of growth should never be to destroy that unity, but to give it greater purposes... "^^
^^Carol Christensen, The American Garden City and the New Towns Movement (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI
Research Press, 1986, orig. ed. 1978), 1-8. It is generally assumed that town planners Henry Wright and
Clarence Stein were the first planners to introduce and implement Ebenezer Howard's "garden city"
concepts to America. The first American communities planned by Wright and Stein that implemented
Howard's ideas were Sunnyside Gardens in Long Island (1924 to 1928) and Radbum, New Jersey (1928 to
1933). But, it must be noted that Arden preceded these communities and provided an even earlier, although
generally undocumented, example of Howard's "garden city" theories being applied to American
community planning. This being the case, it is possible that Arden may have played an influential role for
Philadelphia-based planner Henry Wright in his designs for Sunnyside and Radbum.
^^Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of Tomorrow (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1946), 76.
An examination of the plan for Arden (Plate 16) reveals this type of cohesive, ordered
design scheme drawn up by Price. Roads, paths, lot subdivision, and designation of open
space were all carefully considered and of paramount importance to Arden' s overall plan.
Arden is bisected by Grubb's Lane, an earlier roadway leading southeast from the historic
Grubb's Comer, through the Derrickson Farm, toward the Delaware waterfront. This
road is the spine of the conamunity, running through the middle of the 162-acre property,
dividing it into two parts: the Sherwood side to the west and the Woodlands side to the
east. Arden's secondary roads diverge from this main axis.
Arden' s location within an established region of farmland led Price to conceive of a plan
which utilized natural buffers to keep the community contained within its property
boundaries, giving it definition within the sea of surrounding farms. These buffers are
wooded areas several hundred yards deep, resembling what Ebenezer Howard in Garden
Cities of Tomorrow referred to as a 'country belt' or 'greenbelt' - an area of open space
which buffers and defines the town.^^ But these buffers in Arden were important not
only as town boundaries but as conservation and recreation areas as well. The wooded
region along the west edge of the property became known as Sherwood Forest;^^ the
wooded area along the eastern end of the property, through which Naaman's Creek flows,
was dubbed the Arden Woods. The names given to these forested portions of the
community help conjure up notions of adventure and discovery, appealing to Arden's
artists seeking a place that would foster artistic inspiration. The importance of the
wooded areas in Price's plan was likely to have sprung from Morris' News From
^^The name "Sherwood Forest" comes from Robin Hood, the adventure story about a legendary robber
from the Middle Ages who devoted his life to stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Sherwood Forest is
where Robin Hood lived.
Nowhere. Morris celebrated the woods, suggesting that the woods were an essential
component to his bucolic, Utopian world, providing a romantic place where people could
It was exceedingly pleasant in the dappled shadow [of the woods], for the
day was growing as hot as need be and the coolness and shade soothed my
excited mind into a condition of dreamy pleasure, so that I felt as if I
should like to go on forever through that balmy freshness.^^
Memoirs of Arden residents suggest that these outdoor areas were a very significant
element of Arden living. The poet Harry Kemp recalls Arden as being "surrounded by a
grove of trees," remembering that circular seats were constructed around some of Arden's
big trees where people sat and enjoyed the woods.^^ Naaman's Creek, tucked into the
Arden Woods, was another important feature of Arden's landscape, providing another
form of recreation (Plates 17, 18). A swimming hole known as the "Arden Pool" was
established by damming up a part of the creek, providing another favorite summer retreat
for Arden residents (see Appendix E for a map).
In laying out the lots within the town. Price anticipated a contemporary land use strategy
known in today's planning jargon as "cluster development," where individual house lots
are arranged closely together, leaving larger spaces open for use as common areas. This
strategy, often implemented in today's development plans, helps to preserve the natural
qualities of a site. Lots can be more sympathetically situated according to topography,
woods, and other physical characteristics. As Arden demonstrated, this clustered
planning approach allowed for sizeable tracts of land to be preserved in their natural state,
uninterrupted by the construction of houses or other buildings. Of the total 163 acres
^^orris, News From Nowhere, 30.
^'^Sinclair, Autobiography, Kemp, Tramping On Life: An Autobiographical Narrative.
comprising Arden, roughly 83 acres contained homesites and the remaining 80 acres -
nearly 50% of the total area - were devoted to public use.
Between the Arden Woods and the Sherwood Forest, Price clustered roughly 130 lots,
ranging in size from 7,000 to 54,000 square feet, with an average of 26,000 square feet.^i
The annual land rents assessed on Arden's lots in 1909 ranged from $0,225 to $0.35 and
in 1912 ranged from $0.39 to $0.77 per 1000 square feet.^^ Land rents would differ
somewhat according to the lot's location; premiums were assigned for frontage on the
forest, on Naaman's Creek, or on comer lots.
For the first eight years of Arden's existence, residential activity was focused around the
Village Green on the Woodlands side of Arden. It was in 1909, when Joseph Fels paid
off the outstanding mortgage, that development became possible on the Sherwood side of
Arden.63 j^ order to stimulate development on to the west of Grubb's Road, lower rental
rates were offered. The "Assessment of Arden Land Rentals" from 1912 indicated that
the rental rate was considerably lower on the Sherwood side than on the Woodlands side
(see Appendix G). There is no doubt that the lack of water on the Sherwood side at this
time would also have been a factor in these lower rental rates. According to a letter dated
January 10, 1912, the Sherwood side of Arden was still without a water supply: "Today,
the only available fresh water must come from either Grubb's comer or from the two
^l"Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25, 1912." This document shows a total
of 127 leaseholds in Arden; 80 are on the Woodlands side and the remaining 47 are on the Sherwood side.
^2" Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25, 1909" and "Assessment of Arden
Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25, 1912."
^^Arden Club Talk, February 1909.
pumps located across Grubb's Road [on the Woodlands Side], entailing a long and
toilsome carriage by buckets."^
Amongst the homesites were two principle open spaces -- the Sherwood Green located on
the western side of Grubb's Road (Harvey Road) and the Village Green on the eastern
side. Each of these greens served as a focal point, around which the houses were
clustered. Most importantly, these open spaces had an extremely important social role,
providing ample recreation grounds within easy access of everyone in Arden. The
abundance of land devoted to public space fostered Arden' s community spirit,
encouraging residents to interact by sharing those spaces intended for common use.
Edward T. Hall, author oi Hidden Dimension (1966), refers to spaces such as these as
"sociopetal" -- places that bring people together. ^^ j^ the way that these greens were
centrally located within the town, they helped to bolster community vitality in Arden,
inviting community participation by being used for pageants, concerts and other
festivities (Plates 19-21).
These common spaces also provided a safe, enclosed place for children's recreation. As
William Morris explained in News From Nowhere, a healthy environment is one in which
children are encouraged to experience the outdoors and to live in the woods where they
would learn to do things for themselves.^^ Those who grew up in Arden recall the
freedom that they had as children, in the company of their friends and neighbors and
away from the watchful eye of their parents. The insular plan provided a safe
^Letter from HM. Ware and W. Hambly (representing the Sherwood side residents) to Don Stephens,
president of the Arden Club, dated January 10, 1912.
^^Edward T. Hall, Hidden Dimension (Garden City, ISfY: Doubleday & Co., 1966), 101.
^^Morris, News From Nowhere, 31.
environment, free from dangerous traffic or crime. For the most part this still holds true,
with the exception of Grubb's Road which has become a high-speed corridor taking cars
west from 1-95.
Frederick Law Ohnsted had helped to revitalize the notion of a village green in town
plarming. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, in discussions of his plans for
college campuses, Olmsted advocated that buildings be placed around an open space - an
arrangement that encouraged social connectedness. In all of his designs, whether a
campus, park or suburb, Olmsted strove to achieve this desired social interaction.^"^
Price, in his plan for Arden, took a similar approach, devising a plan that incorporated
these types of social spaces to achieve cooperation, intimacy and interdependence among
The village green concept adopted at Arden also resembled the popular arrangement for
Camp Meetings, a form of religious conmiunity popularized in America during the mid-
nineteenth century, where people of a religious sect would temporarily assemble for
worship. Camp meetings, common among Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists, were
set up with tents arranged around the perimeter of an open area, the open space being the
center of all activity. In the case of a camp meeting, the open space was the designated
worship area (Plate 22).^^
Not only did these central greens provide a focal point for activities, but they also
provided a focus for Arden' s dwellings. The pattern of dwellings along the Village
^^Bender, Toward an Urban Vision. 176.
^^John Stilgoe, Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
Green, where Arden's earliest building activity occurred, suggests that prospect was of
foremost consideration in building placement. Every house was therefore carefully
situated facing the green, although not always placed squarely on the green, so as to take
advantage of the view. The Homestead, the first building constructed at Arden, was
ideally situated so it not only gained an advantageous prospect of the Village Green but
due to its southern orientation it also received the desired southern exposure.
The allocation of land in Arden was also carefully determined, keeping lots relatively
small so that one's financial status could not be reflected in one's home site. Price and
Stephens were very interested in taking the emphasis away from the house. During the
late nineteenth century -- a period which corned the term "conspicuous consumption" --
one's house had developed into an important indicator of wealth. By restricting lot size.
Price and Stephens made certain that this was not going to be a phenomenon at Arden.
Instead, the small lot sizes allowed for dwellings of only modest size, making certain that
homes would not be a badge of one's social or economic status. It was hoped at Arden,
just as at Rose Valley, that there would be no economic segregation, that people of
different economic classes would be integrated throughout the community. As Will Price
wrote in The Artsman, "Here the tiniest cottages may be built side by side with a more
spacious neighbor. And why not? Certainly our fitness to associate together upon human
conditions should not be guaged by our incomes." ^^
The strategy of small houses on small lots also encouraged residents to utilize the
common areas rather than isolating themselves on their own plot of land, ensuring that
everyone be part of the community. In contrast to other turn of the century suburban
^^Uliam Price, "Is Rose Valley WorthwhUe?" The Artsman, 1, 1 (October 1903), 10-11.
developments where houses were being built on large individual lots, the homesites of
Arden were not large enough to provide for recreational area as well as a dwelling, so
people were forced to spill out onto the Village Green and into the woods to seek
adventure and sport. In effect, the lot size further stimulated sociability.
Another important element of Arden' s plan was the network of roads and paths. Just as
Frederick Law Olmsted had instituted in his urban parks, Price designed Arden so that all
of the vehicular and pedestrian traffic was separated, the width of the roads designating
intended use. Wider roads for vehicular traffic were supplemented by narrow walking
paths that meandered through the community and into the woods. Not only was this an
appealing and healthy alternative to conventional road planning, it encouraged, and still
does encourage, social interaction by inviting people to walk, to visit their neighbors, and
to enjoy their surroundings. Cul-de-sacs were also incorporated into the plan; they were
considered the most appropriate type of road for reaching the homes that were tucked into
the edge of the woods and along the Naaman's Creek along the eastern edge of Arden.
The arbitrary placement of the roads was also intentional, again contrasting with the
gridiron plan of the typical American city. As Olmsted had believed, the urban gridplan
had been developed for economic reasons, physically dividing the city into uniform
blocks - convenient packages for development and speculation.'^^ Because straight-
sided, right angled houses to fit these lots were the most cost-effective to build, the
physical form of the city reflected the city as real estate rather than as social space. That
is, the grid in nineteenth century American cities was essentially suited to urban
industrialization, and therefore an inappropriate form for a rural town or suburb that
^•^ender. Toward an Urban Vision.
sought to provide relief from the ills of the city. Thus, in contrast to the regularity of the
streets in cities like New York and Philadelphia, or even the grid of Price's Wayne and
Overbrook developments, Arden was planned to have roads which were neitiier formal
nor well-ordered but more random, better suited to the rhythms of nature. As any first-
time visitor to Arden will confirm, one can easily find themselves disoriented as they try
to make their way by foot or by car through the community.
The arbitrary roads were also effective in shaping social behavior, encouraging travel by
foot rather than by vehicle, because the walking paths through the woods were often more
direct and more convenient than the circuitous roads laid out for vehicular traffic.
Importantly, pedestrian traffic further encouraged social interaction among residents.
Small, hand carved wooden signs marked every path and roadway through Arden. The
most notable of these carved wooden signs was the stile marking the entrance to Arden,
still in place on the east side of Grubb's Road road at the comer of the Stile Path (Plate
23). In graceful medieval lettering, Arden' s motto "You are welcome hither," borrowed
from Shakespeare's King Lear, spans the stile, offering a friendly greeting to visitors to
the community. This welcome effectively defined the spirit Arden evoked. Unlike so
many of the exclusive, gated suburban communities developed during the second half of
the nineteenth century, Arden was open to all. The Arden Leaves recounts a story told of
how this stile, which has now become somewhat of an icon of the community, first came
When Arden was not a day old, the two founders, filled with
enthusiasm for the project and overflowing with sympathy and
good-will for the lonely and unfortunate of the earth, had each
resolved, unknown to the other, to put up some sign that would
attract the wayfarer to this new City of Refuge. Number One
[Price], who was an artist, said to himself, "When I go to town I
will have a sign painted 'Trespassing Requested,' and I will bring
it back with me and hang it on the gate." But Number Two
[Stephens], who was a Poet, immediately got him an oak plank and
he sat up all night and carved on it in quaint letters, 'You are
welcome hither' ''i
As this entrance suggests. Price and Stephens from the start established a sense of
opermess and individual freedom that still lives on in Arden today.
The theater, established on the edge of the Village Green, was another symbolically and
functionally important component of Arden 's plan (Plate 24). Known as the Field
Theater, this performance space was the site of plays, musical productions and other
festivities. Resembling an early Shakespearean performance space, the Field Theater was
built in a semi-circular arrangement with wooden benches embracing the stage. The
benches, built in a rustic manner in character with Arden 's early dwellings, were
supported by large tree trunks. The stage, defined by a low stone wall wrapping around
the performance space, was raised only slightly off the ground and had a grass floor. The
natural surroundings of the Arden Woods served not only as a picturesque setting for the
theater but provided the limited stage props, such as the large boulder found in the middle
of the stage. Appropriate for Shakespearean performances, Arden' s theater provided a
versatile stage; the lack of scenery was to be made up for by the talent of the actors and
the imagination of the audience. The entrance to the Field Theater was marked by two
busts of Shakespearean figures mounted on tree trunk posts. Shakespearean plays were
performed at the Field Theater every Saturday throughout the summer.
The theater's location alone signified the importance of drama to the community (see
Appendix E). With the theater situated on the edge of the Village Green adjacent to the
"^^Arden Leaves, December 1910, 4.
Frank Stephens Homestead, it was ensured that drama would play a central role in
community life (Plate 40). Whether part of the cast or the audience, nearly every Arden
resident played a role in the drama at Arden. The theater, therefore, was an important
means of social interaction as well as a way of inspiring creativity and artistic spirit
within the community.
In terms of landscaping, residents of Arden were vigorously urged to decorate their
homes and lots with flowers and trees. As William Morris recommended in News From
Nowhere, every house was to be "surrounded by a teeming garden."''^ William Price,
another avid fan of gardens, happily exclaimed in a 1907 essay, "There is a better day
dawning. We are going back to gardening, which goes to show that Nature is being
considered in its relation to architecture, and while our effort at present seems mainly to
lie in the direction of torturing Nature into a shape to match our houses, still we grow,
and eventually architecture will be tamed to meet Nature at least half way." Showing his
taste for gardens. Price went on in this essay to declare that "your house is not a home
without a garden, or your garden a garden without a house."^^ At Arden, in addition to
gardens, there were fences, trellises and pergolas with vines trained to grow along these
structures (Plate 35). These garden embellishments were another means of encouraging
nature's integral role in the community. Gardens, fences and trellises not only enlivened
the community as a whole, but they provided an economical and effective way for
residents to personalize their lots and express their individuality.
^^Morris, News From Nowhere, 25.
^^Price, "Choosing Simple Materials for the Home," 37.
It seems that certain planning ground rules made by Ebenezer Howard in Garden Cities
of Tomorrow, may have been considered by Price and Stephens at Arden. First, Howard
advised that communities should not over emphasize cooperative living and fail to
acknowledge or encourage individualism within the community: "society will prove the
most healthy and vigorous where the freest and fullest opportunities are afforded alike for
individual and for combined effort.""^^ While cooperation was indeed a goal at Arden, so
too was individuaUsm, most evident in Arden' s diverse architecture.
Another of Howard's rules for community development that seems to have been
^ followed at Arden was to make certain that a proper location be selected, a very important
factor in the success or failure of a new community J^ Howard insisted that in order to
successfully draw people from their current homes to a new location, the new community
could not be located at an extreme distance because it was too costly and, therefore,
unlikely that people would simply pick up and move to a new area, especially when there
was not adequate information yet available on what they would expect to find there.
Thus, people had to feel that they were not too far away from their familiar surroundings.
Following Howard's advice. Price and Stephens chose a site for Arden along the
established Baltimore and Ohio rail line within a half-hour's ride from the two
metropolitan centers of Philadelphia and Wihnington.
Howard's book also proposed a strategy for town expansion which Arden later
implemented. It was suggested by Howard that when a new community grew to the
extent that it had to expand, it was essential that development not spread into the deeded
^"^Howard, Garden Cities, 1 14.
common spaces but that adjacent lands be acquired. '^^ In this manner, the original open
spaces of the community were retained for the continued use of the residents, ensuring
that the integrity of the community was not compromised. Adhering to Howard's
strategy for growth in a garden city, Arden expanded in 1922, not by developing its
designated woodland areas or village greens, but by acquiring an adjacent 109 acres for
Ardentown. The establishment of Ardencroft in 1950 on another contiguous 63 acres
followed a similar strategy.
Interestingly, Price's plan for Arden countered the formalized planning trends set into
motion by Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893. By 1900, when much of the nation
was adopting the type of grand and theatrical landscape presented in Chicago, Price
appeared to be perpemating the notion of a namral landscape that had been advocated by
Olmsted in his urban park and suburb planning during the mid-nineteenth century. Price
had no desire to develop a contrived, formal or symmetrical plan for Arden, for these
monumental plans celebrated the great wealth of the nation, displaying it in a pretentious
fashion. Price'saims were more subdued and modest. At Arden, he wanted to create a
community that served his idealistic views of the way people should interact, and how
they should live in harmony within a democratic setting.
Over the past eighty years Arden's plan has remained intact but not static. As social
goals changed or new needs arose, certain adaptations or additions have been made, the
most apparent examples being the construction of a number of common facilities such as
the Gild Hall, the craft shop, the weaving shop ~ all designed to enhance Arden's appeal
to artists. This provision of studio space demonstrated the community's commitment to
All of the elements of Arden's plan helped to establish Arden's reputation as a
progressive community, one with a high level of public spirit and artistic enterprise.
Today nothing speaks of the community's success more than the plan itself. To walk
through Arden along its roads and paths one captures the essence of Arden. This cannot
be achieved by driving through hastily. To fully view Arden one must take the time to
walk, to stop and talk to the residents, to witness the interaction among residents, to
experience the community activities, for it is these activities that make Arden's plan a
successful effort at an interactive and cooperative planned development.
ARCHITECTURE OF ARDEN
Like the plan, the architecture of Arden, was an essential tool in the social engineering of
the community, aiding Price and Stephens in their efforts to achieve an interactive,
democratic model community. The residential architecture was, and in large part still is,
one of the most important factors in determining Arden 's population. At first, the appeal
for the diminutive scale and simple construction of Arden's early houses was fairly
limited. Founded at a time when it was common for people to display their wealth with
extravagant, showy residences, Arden appealed only to those who were interested in more
rustic accomodations, those willing to sacrifice urban technological advances and
architectural pretensions in favor of a more simplistic, "back-to-nature" living situation.
Today, the same holds true. Although the homes of Arden have since been adopted to
incorporate nearly every technological advance (running water, heating, bathrooms,
kitchens, etc.), the scale of the architecture has remained minute, thereby continuing to
attract those interested in living in a small house and being part of a tight-knit, interactive
conmiunity. Due to their small size, the dwellings in Arden tend to be supplements to
Arden's larger, shared spaces; that is, the houses are fragments of a much larger, more
complex social unit.
Gustav Stickley (1858-1942), who was in large part responsible for conveying to
American audiences the arts and crafts ideas of Englishman William Morris, played an
influential role in shaping Arden's architecture. A contemporary of Stephens and Price,
Stickley spent a lifetime promoting his so-called Craftsman Movement which empasized
using architecture as a means of improving health and morals. He advocated a
simplification of building design, honesty of materials, and a rejection of the excesses
associated with the industrial age ~ ideas which in theory closely resembled those of
Price and Stephens and their aspirations for Arden.
The Craftsman, a magazine published from 1901 to 1916, was Stickley's tool for
communicating his ideologies. Beginning as a compilation of essays promulgating
Morris' arts and crafts values, the magazine began in 1904 to offer designs for "craftsman
homes," the architecmral manifestation of these arts and crafts principles. ''"' Interestingly,
William Price was among die many artists and architects who contributed to this
magazine. In 1911, The Craftsman published Price's essay "The House of the
Democrat," his plea for a simpler, more personal, and more artistic architecture."^^ Price's
contributions to The Craftsman help to explain the parallels between designs at Arden
and those presented in Stickley's magazine. Price and Stickley were among a throng of
William Morris enthusiasts in America, dubbed by Stickley as "craftsmen," who were
striving to design buildings more appropriate to twentieth century conditions -- buildings
that would help to reshape social behavior and thereby resolve some of the social,
political and economic turmoil within American society.
As Gustav Stickley expressed in his book Craftsman Homes (1909): "the root of all
reform lies in the individual and that the life of the individual is shaped mainly by home
surroundings..." Stickley went on to suggest that "the ordering of our lives along more
simple and reasonable lines would not only assure greater comfort, and therefore greater
efficiency, to the workers of the nation, but would give the children a chance to grow up
under conditions which would be conducive to a higher degree of mental, moral and
^^Gustav Stickley, Craftsman Homes (NY: Dover Pubbcations, Inc., 1982), 9. Reprint, originally
published by Craftsman Publishing in 1909.
"^^Price, 'The House of the Democrat," The Craftsman, Vol. 21, No.2, 1911.
physical efficiency."'''^ He explained that simplicity tended to ground children's
expectations for the future, not filling them with ideas that they have to strive to meet the
certain expected level of wealth represented in the more elaborate, conspicuous Victorian
home typical of the late nineteenth century. Price and Stephens shared Stickley's belief
that architecture could be used as a means of social reform, ensuring that through
architecture humanistic qualities could be preserved and not entirely lost to industrialism.
From the start, the design of Arden's architecture helped to enforce the social objectives
of Stephens and Price, decreasing the emphasis on the house as a symbol of wealth,
paring it dovm to only its essential elements.
As Stickley explained, craftsman homes presented in The Craftsman were designed for
the country and intended to be as simplistic as possible:
The Craftsman type of building is largely the result not of elaboration, but
of elimination. The more I design, the more sure I am that elimination is
the secret of beauty in architecture. By this I do not mean that I want to
think scantily and work meagerly. Rather, I feel that one should plan
richly and fully, and then begin to prune, to weed, to shear away
everything that seems superfluous and superficial. Practically every house
I build I find, both in structural outline and in the planning and the
adjustment of the interior space, that I am simplifying, that I am doing
away with something that was not needed; that I am using my spaces to
better advantage. All of this means the expenditure of less money and the
gain of more comfort and beauty.^^
This propensity for simplicity and economy that is readily apparent at Arden was initially
spurred on by William Morris who urged people to "possess nothing that you do not
know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."^! Tied into this beauty and simplicity was
the craftsman belief that a building must be in harmony with its surroundings. In order to
^^Stickley, "Simplicity and Domestic Life," in Roots of Contemporary Architecture, 299-301.
^^Gustav Stickley, More Craftsman Homes (NY: Dover Publications, Inc, 1988), 1. Reprint, originally
published by Craftsman Publishing in 1912.
^^Lewis Mumford, "A Backward Glance," in Roots of Contemporary Architecture, 28.
best achieve this harmony it was advocated that local materials be used in the
construction of buildings. Price, in his essay "Choosing Simple Materials for the House"
published in 1907 in Country Homes and Gardens of Moderate Cost, explained that the
reason for choosing local materials was threefold: " First, they are cheap; second, they are
easily obtainable; and third, they are beautiful."^^
Among the many other elements thought to be of utmost importance to craftsman homes
were fu-eplaces, fireside nooks, exposed timber beams, high wainscoting, and use of
rough stone details. The liberal use of natural woodwork was anodier distinctive
characteristic of craftsman homes. Stickley believed that "no other treatment of the walls
gives such a sense of friendliness, mellowness and permanence as does a generous
quanitity of woodwork."^^ wm price shared Stickley' s passion for woodwork (Plate 59).
In his book Model Houses for Little Money, Price stated that woodwork should be:
... simple in the extreme, ~ usually mere flat, thin bands, designed to show
the grain... and never cover with coat after coat of varnish or paint to hide
its beauty... There is nothing more beautiful than an open-grained or large-
figured wood, like chestnut, cypress, or even hemlock, without filler or
paint, merely sandpapered to a smooth surface and waxed to bring out the
Stickley recommended that homes could achieve maximum efficiency of space by
keeping interiors open, using as few partitions as possible. To achieve maximum
efficiency in the utilization of space, he believed, like William Morris, that craftsman
homes should have minimal furniture. Stickley suggested that built-in furnishings be
^2price, "Choosing Simple Materials for the House" in Country Homes and Gardens of Moderate Cost, ed.
by Charles F. Osborne (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1907).
^^Stickley, Craftsman Homes, 146.
^William L. Price, Model Houses for Little Money (PhUadelphia: Curtis Publishing Co., Inc., 1895), 90-
incoqjorated into the interiors, lining the walls with book shelves, cupboards, built-in
benches and window seats. Many of these architectural elements and details were also
carefully incorporated into the homes in Arden (Plate 25).
At Arden, the architecture and plan depict the community's history. The architecture
mirrors Arden 's humble beginnings, its perpetual struggles to remain within its financial
parameters, and its efforts to transform itself from a summer village to a viable year-
round community. The best way to examine Arden's architecture is by looking at the
manner in which the architectural elements of the community evolved. The architectural
development of Arden can be easily divided into two phases: the first phase lasting from
the community's founding in 1900 until 1908, and the second phase continuing from
early 1909 (when Arden received funding intended to aid in the community's building
efforts) until 1916, the year of William Price's death.
Arden: 1900 - 1908
Documentation suggests that during the first phase of Arden's development, Frank
Stephens was the principal house designer and that William Price did not play a very
active role.^^ Price was otherwise occupied during this period, in the design and
execution of his Utopian village Rose Valley. The fact that Frank Stephens was trained as
a sculptor and not an as an architect helps to explain the rather amateur quality of Arden's
earliest structures. William Price's architectural contributions to Arden's building stock,
and the resulting improvement in building quality, did not come until 1909, during the
second phase of Arden's development.
^^Arden Leaves. The Arden Leaves advertises in its "Arden Industries" that Frank Stephens was to be
called on for house designing: "Frank Stephens designs and builds houses for homes, builds them by days
work, with men who take pleasure and pride in the work. No contract work, thank you, just actual cost of
honest work plus a reasonable charge for careful supervision."
During Arden's first eight years, the community remained small -- essentially a camp
where visitors would come only for the summer and stay in very rustic bungalows or
simple tents (Plate 26). An article published in American Homes and Gardens in 1908
actually described Arden as a camp for boys between the ages of eight and fifteen. This
article also mentions, however, that families would also visit Arden.^^ In general,
lifestyle in Arden was informal. Recreation was the favorite pastime and people spent
most of their time outdoors. This being the case, homes were of secondary importance.
Dwellings were more of a formality than a necessity. In fact, tent camping was a
common phenomenon at Arden and a tradition that endured for many years. William
Price's book Model Houses for Little Money, published in 1895, included an essay that
advocated tent camping as a practical and desirable way of escaping the city.
For those who live in cities and towns, and are fond of Nature in her
brightest aspect, there is no more enjoyable and inexpensive way of
passing a summer holiday than in a cabin or a tent under the shade of
forest trees. Here are to be found complete change of environment and of
living, perfect tranquility, absolute rest and health, and immunity from
business cares and social duties; here, also, one may follow the bent of his
inclinations without hindrance.^'^
As this essay suggests, the natural environment of Arden was well-suited for tents and as
late as 1910 people were still spending summers there in tents. However, despite this
affinity for tent camping, some Ardenites opted for somewhat more permanent structures.
Consequently, a number of more permanent, or at least semi-permanent, structures were
erected during Arden's first several years. This earliest building activity was
concentrated on the perimeter of the Village Green, and consisted mainly of small, rather
^^Mabel T. Priestman, "A Summer Camp at Arden..." American Homes and Gardens, V, May 1908, 180.
^'^Price, Model Houses for Link Money (PhOadelphia: Curtis Publishing Co., Inc., 1895), 181.
crudely constructed dwellings. Included among these earliest (pre- 1903) buildings
The Arden Inn
The Little Red House
Please refer to Appendix Ffor a map of Arden 's buildings.
The Homestead, Arden' s first structure, is representative of the earliest homes of Arden
(Plates 27, 28). Frank Stephens built this small bungalow for himself and his wife
Eleanor in 1900 shortly after the purchase of the Derrickson Farm. Although it has since
undergone changes, the Homestead began as a one-story, single room house with low
walls and roof. The structure, with its simple form and economical consruction, was very
basic, providing only shghtly better living conditions than a canvas tent. The requisite
casement windows advocated by both William Morris and Gustav Stickley were also
found at The Homestead. These windows were chosen because they were thought to be
the most effective in allowing the maximum amount of air and light to enter into a
dwelling. The small porch off the front of the bungalow, a characteristic of most early
Arden structures, was effective in achieving a link between the indoors and outdoors, in
accord with the craftsman home quality of being in harmony with nature.
Unlike typical suburban development of the period, where the average home was growing
increasingly larger due to the perceived need to have a different room for every
household function, Ardenites were scaling down, reducing the home to die bare
^^Arden Advocate, July 25, 1902. The paper reported that aU of these houses were being lived in by July
1902. All of these structures still survive, although many have been rather dramatically altered.
essentials. Arden homes were, first and foremost, economical and manageable, built to
give adequate comfort in the least amount of space. As the case had been in seventeenth
and eighteenth century America, within the homes of Arden multi-use spaces were the
norm, making little distinction between public and private space. Intimacy was achieved
in a structure's simplicity. A multitude of rooms, each differentiated according to its
purpose, was considered in Arden to be excessive and impersonal. The elaborate, over-
sized and over-decorated homes of the wealthy that were appearing throughout America
at the end of die nineteenth century were not to be found in Arden. Price and Stephens
shared the view of William Morris that die "ugliness and vulgarity of the rich man's
dwellings [were] a necessary reflection from the sordidness and bareness of life which
they forced upon the poor people,"^^ and were therefore entirely inappropriate to Arden 's
Ardenites did not want to be slaves to their homes; they did not want to be burdened by
the necessary upkeep of their residences. Those drawn to Arden were willing to reject a
life of etiquette and manners for the less-refmed lifestyle reflected in Arden' s residences.
They preferred to be free of domestic responsibility, allowing diem time for their artistic,
dramatic or Uterary pursuits.
Not only did die buildings of Arden define the landscape of the community, but Uie
limited space and small scale of the homes at Arden effectively shaped social behavior
within the village as well. As was die case in early America, die lack of privacy widiin
the home resulted in people being compelled to utilize the outdoors for privacy and
solitude. At Arden, this was an intentional, designed consequence because it helped to
^^ Morris, News From Nowhere, 179.
develop a highly interactive society. Outdoor common spaces were actively used by
those who sought an escape from the intimate, sometimes cramped environments within
their homes. Unlike tiie phenomenon arising out of the typical nineteenth century
American suburb where famiUes became increasingly isolated, Arden's conmiunity was
designed to be more interdependent. The homes at Arden were designed in a manner to
encourage cooperation and spirituality. This cooperative ideal was also central to
Stickley's architectural philosophy. He argued that his Craftsman houses designed for
country living were to:
... promote a cooperative spirit. People are willing to cooperate if they can
get more comfort into tiieir lives and keep better in touch with progress.
And in die necessary development of rural life, problems of lighting, water
supply, sewerage, farm machinery, motive power, etc., as well as of social
and educational needs, will have to be solved by cooperation. Then with
the mcrease of common material interests there will come a strengthening
of spirimal ties. In place of tiie old feeling of rural isolation we shall find
a quickening of the recreative and intellectual life of the people.
Community spirit and community pride will become factors in the
betterment of rural conditions, until every township, village, farm and
open country will enjoy a share in the responsibilities and privileges of
happy community life, and so contribute to die progress of the nation.^o
As the Homestead illustrates, the early Arden buildings are not as valuable architecturally
as they are culturally. Stiiictures were built to serve a function rather than earn
architectural merit, but nonetheless they are extremely important in their representation of
the informal lifestyle in Arden. The rustic, simple buildings were intended to be
subordinate to the setting, merely a means by which people could take advantage of their
The Arden Inn (Plate 29), another of Arden's earliest structures, was an important icon in
the community for it helped to legitimize the community and the serious intent of its
^^Stickley, More Craftsman Homes, 6.
founders. Historically, the hotel has played a pivotal role in the development of new
communities throughout the United States.^ ^ As was the case throughout the nineteenth
century, especially as development of the United States progressed westward, one of the
first buildings to be constructed in a new town was an inn or hotel -- a structure which not
only symbolically celebrated the start of a new town but played a functional role,
providing accomodations to visitors and potential residents. The Arden Inn played a
similarly symbolic role, signified by its central location along Cherry Lane on the Village
Green and by its two-story design, dien the tallest and perhaps most conspicuous
structure in Arden.92 The Inn offered meals as well as a place to sleep, enabling visitors
to spend time in Arden without settling for an entire season. And, in keeping with the
tradition of the typical American hotel, the Arden Inn encouraged fellowship and
communal experiences. While by no means an exemplary architectural model, the Arden
Inn was an important element of Arden 's early landscape.
Like the Arden Inn, the Red House was also of emblematic importance to Arden (Plates
30-32). The Red House in Arden was the first building to house workspace for crafts,
accomodating both the Arden Forge and Frank Stephens' studio; it also served as the
community's first gathering place. The name stems from William Morris' own house,
known commonly as the "Red House," that he built in the village of Upton in Kent,
England in 1859. Morris' Red House, from the time of its construction, served as a
model of the medieval craftsmanship that Morris so enthusiastically advocated
throughout his life, for it was there in 1861 that he established Morris & Company, his
^^priestman, 'The Summer Camp at Arden..." 181. While the existence of the Brambles seems to
contradict it, Priestman reported in 1908 that the Arden Inn was the only bungalow in the community to
have a staircase.
decorative arts firm.^^ Along with Edward Bume-Jones, Philip Webb and Dante
Rossetti, Morris began to design and produce a great array of products for decorating the
house. Furniture, carpets, wallpapers and textiles - all crafted using traditional medieval
methods and materials - were among the many products offered by Morris &
Company.^"* Just as the Red House in England was an expression of Morris, Arden's
Red House was a tribute to Morris — an indication that Arden aspired to Uve according to
Morris' principles. When it was first constructed, Arden's Red House stood alone,
prominently situated on the Village Green at the comer of Cherry Lane and Millers Lane.
The Red House is a low structure with a broad gabled roof. This roof extended over a
porch on the side facing the Village Green.
All buildings in Arden were constructed in the most economical manner. This generally
meant that building efforts were cooperative community events, ensuring that costs were
kept down. The 1908 American Homes and Gardens article explained Arden's cost-
saving building process as follows:
The people at Arden have a very practical way of reducing the cost of
labor for a building, for here the dignity of labor is at a high premium, and
most of the work is carried on by the community. The older boys fell the
trees and work in the saw mills, and do any building that is within their
power, but as they are not expected to do this without payment, their hours
of labor are credited to them and deducted from the cost of their board. ^^
While buildings in Arden were economical and simple, they were also full of individual
character. As the list of early homes in Arden demonstrates, each home was given a
playful name. These names assigned to each house contributed to the fairyland qualities
^3philip Henderson, William Morris, His Life Work and Friends (NY: McGraw-HiU Book Co., 1967).
^^Priestman, "The Summer Camp at Arden..." 180-81.
of Arden, personalizing and heightening the importance of each of the simple structures.
Adding further to the individual character of Arden' s architecture were the crafts of the
residents that were incorporated into every building. Just as Gustav Stickley had
recommended that homes be decorated with art — art that has "given the producer
pleasure to create"^^ -- Arden dwellings incorporated handcrafted iron hardware and
lighting fixtures, stained glass windows, murals and woodcarvings. The Homestead
featured a stained glass window reportedly crafted by Lucy Darling for Frank Stephens.
The door to the Red House was hung on iron hinges crafted at the Arden Forge; a
handcrafted iron lantern hung above this door as well. The Monastery (Plate 33), a small
cabin buUt in 1908 as Don Stephens' bachelor's pad, had a small stained glass monk
incorporated into one of its leaded glass windows (Plate 34).
An early photograph of Admiral BenBow, another of the 1901 Arden dwellings,
demonstrates the use of fences and trellises in Arden's early architecture (Plate 35). As
mentioned earlier, trellises were considered appropriate to Craftsman homes because they
provided an organic and economical form of decoration to an otherwise plain dwelling.
Vines were to be trained to grow up these tree-like structures, literally rooting the
architecture to its setting, further emphasizing the desired link between the architecture
and its natural surroundings. Vine-covered pergolas such as the one at Admiral BenBow,
were intended to create an appealing and welcoming entrance to a dwelling.
A series of other cabins, built during this period to serve the transient residents of Arden,
were erected along the Village Green to the east of the Red House (Plate 36). While an
exact construction date for these cabins is unknown, they were in place by 1908 when
^"Stickley, Craftsman Homes.
Mabel Priestman reported on the summer camp of Arden in American Homes and
Gardens. She explained that these cabins provided accomodations for the boys who
commonly came alone to Arden to spend the summer. ^'^
The winter of 1905 marked the first winter spent at Arden. Ella Reeve Bloor (commonly
known as Mother Bloor), later an accomphce of Upton Sinclair in uncovering horrors in
the meat packing houses of Chicago, spent the winter of 1905 at the Brambles (Plate
37).98 The Brambles, a two-story structure built in 1901 by George Leach and Harry
Vandever, again exemplifies the simple economical designs common during Arden' s
early phase of development. This dwelling, built for Mother Bloor and her husband
Louis Cohen, was described by Bloor in her memoirs as a "shack" that they built for
eighty dollars. ^^
In his memoirs of Arden, Harry Kemp recalled that most everything in the community
had been built by hand, giving the community a true arts and crafts feel although with a
somewhat haphazard, awkward and clumsy feel. Kemp poetically described Arden as
having "Toy houses picturesquely set under trees that fringed the common.. .houses with
different, quaint colors... the "green" in the centre carefully cropped as if nibbled by
sheep... well-kept paths of parti-coloured stone, as if each pebble had been placed there
by hand..."i°o From this description, there is no doubt that Arden evoked a romantic,
picturesque image. Therefore, the appeal that Stephens and Price had intended to create
had apparently succeeded, at least in the eyes of some.
^^Priestman, "The Summer Camp at Arden..." 181.
^^ Arden Trivia Night, Arden, DE, February, 1992.
^^loor. We Are Many, 66.
^*^Kemp, Tramping on Life, 347.
Due to the fact that Arden newspapers were unavailable from 1902 to 1908, the record of
building activity during this six-year period is scarce. What is known, however, is that
development occurred only on the Woodlands side (east of Grubbs Road) because the
Sherwood side (west of Grubbs Road) was not opened up for development until after
Because of the limited documentation available for this first building phase, it is difficult
to know just how significant a role Will Price played in the design of Arden' s early
structures. It is known that Price was instrumental in getting the community underway
and that he was an Arden trustee until his death in 1916, but it is also known that his
home was in Rose Valley and that he never lived in Arden. Price's involvement in the
design of so many of Rose Valley's houses following the founding of that community in
1902 helps to explain why his characteristic architecture does not often appear during
Arden' s early years. It is not until 1909 that the Arden Club Talk, one of Arden' s early
newspapers, begins to make direct reference to Price's involvement in Arden building
Arden: 1909 - 1916
There were some rather significant changes in the the approach to Arden's development
after 1908. The somewhat haphazard, arbitrary development occurring prior to 1909,
gave way to a more strategic, programmed development after this time. Several factors
played a role in this change.
^^^ Arden Club Talk, 1909.
First, efforts were being made to make Arden better suited for year-round residents. By
1909, it was becoming clear to Price and Stephens that to effectively attract more year-
round residents to Arden, efforts would have to be made to make the community more
viable for permanent residency. Specifically, the outdoor spaces which served as suitable
common spaces while Arden remained primarily a summer community were insufficient
in the winter. Residents needed winter alternatives - enclosed spaces that served the
same social needs of the community that the fields and woods had up to this point. Due
to the diminutive scale of the homes in Arden, this need for common space was
especially pronounced. The common spaces in Arden were to serve as supplements to
the houses, dius allowing the houses in Arden to remain small and simple. The Gild Hall,
established in 1909, was the first of these indoor common spaces to be realized.
The second factor impacting development in Arden after 1908 was the interest in
upgrading the general appearance of the community. One visitor to Arden in 1909
commented that 'The plan of development could be improved, principally by having all
the structures, however small they may be, built of such material as would lend an air of
solidity and permanence." ^'^^ This visitor was not the only one who felt Arden was in
need of aesthetic improvements. In February 1909, Joseph Fels, Arden' s primary source
of financial support, presented the community with a gift of $5,000 to assist in building at
Arden. Fels' gift, stipulating that Will Price be the architect of the new buildings, points
to the fact that Fels also believed Arden needed a boost in its appearance. The Arden
Club Talk of March 1909 announced Fels' gift:
Joseph Fels left, subject to Will Price's order, several thousand dollars to
build at once four or five cottages from that master craftsman's designs;
^^^Arden Club Talk, December 1909. William Jeffery, interested in planning a community similar to
Arden in the Berkeley Hills near Plainfield, NJ, paid a visit to Arden in 1909, making comments on Arden's
the one stipulation was that they should be permanent and artistic in
character with stone foundations and cellars, hollow brick and concrete
walls and above all, literally, the red tiled roofs so beautiful in the scenery
of England and the Netiierlands.i^^
This statement is of critical importance in understanding the evolution of Arden's
architecture because it was this gift that marked tiie start of tiie so-called second phase of
development, setting into motion a spurt of building activity in Arden between 1909 and
1913. A letter dated February 4, 1909 from Frank Stephens to his son Don suggests that
work got started in Arden immediately after Pels' gift was received.
My dear Son -
I think the tide has turned for us. Joe Feb has left $5,000 here to
go ahead with building at once -- Will Price and I will be down on
the 11:30 or 2:20 train Saturday. Don 'tfail to be in Arden that
afternoon if possible...
The torrent of building activity which got underway in Arden in 1909 was noted in an
issue of the Arden Club Talk: "There is not an idle man or boy in tiie village. The saw
mill has been singing at the Wood's Edge on the Sherwood side and witiiin the woods
bars and picks clang in the rock beds beside tiie brook and teams drag out stone loaded
sleds" (Plate 38). Not only does tiiis report record the level of building activity occurring,
but it also documents tiie fact tiiat many of tiie materials used for the houses built in tiiis
second phase were resourcefully gathered from Arden's own fields and woods.
The fact tiiat Joseph Fels advised that Will Price be in charge of the design of tiie new
buildings in Arden, signifies tiie importance of Price's role in the second phase of
^^^ Arden Club Talk, March - April 1909.
^^Transcribed letter from Frank Stephens to Don Stephens, February 4, 1909 [AA]. The letter was sent
from Philadelphia on The Art Club of Philadelphia stationery to Arden.
Arden's development. Under Price's guidance, the architecture within Arden's second
phase of development became notably more substantial, more permanent and more
artistic, just as Pels had recommended. These improvements helped to upgrade the
community's general appearance, thus giving more credibility to the social goals of
Arden by making the community appear more stable.
Among the most significant buildings constructed during this second phase of
Second Homestead 1909
Priendly Gables 1909
Green Gate (Lulu Clark House) 1909
Woolery's Grocery Store 1909
Upton Sinclair House ("Jungalow") 1910
The Lodge 1910
Rest Cottage 1910
GUd Hall Conversion 1910
Kitty Ross House 1911
Just as the original Homestead was discussed as a typical home of the first phase of
building in Arden (pre- 1909), the Second Homestead serves as a good model for
examining the changes that occurred in the second phase of development (Plates 39-40).
In contrast to the original Homestead, the Second Homestead is far more decorative and
polished. The fact that the Second Homestead was built directly in front of the original
Homestead suggests that the newer structure was to represent the new look for Arden —
architecture that was more refined but still retaining its miniature scale and craftsman
appeal. The structures of the second phase continued to uphold Gustav Stickley's aim of
achieving "beauty through elimination." ^^^
^^^ Arden Club Talk, 1909-10. AU of these buildings still survive.
106stickley, More Craftsman Homes, 3.
The Second Homestead, like most of the other homes of the period, was built of more
permanent materials and with considerably more attention given to detail. This
Homestead, featuring the requisite stone foundation, hollow tile construction, and tile
roof recommended by Pels, was a far cry from the log veneer and tar paper roofs of some
of Arden's earliest homes.
Price, in his design for the Second Homestead, intended to remain consistent with the
idea of being in harmony with nature, however, it was somewhat of a different approach
than during the first eight years of building in Arden. With the Second Homestead Price
began to instill his newest design techniques upon Arden. Just as he had carried out in
Rose Valley, Price built homes that incorporated his rough stone, hollow tile and plaster
construction method. The justification for this approach was best put in Price's own
words. In a 191 1 article in The Brickbuilder, Price described his design strategy which he
employed at both Rose Valley and at Arden. It was Price's intention that houses "grow
up from their foundations." Price claimed that for the setting "to establish a friendly
relationship with the structures the walls are first erected of [local stone], but the stone is
finally lost by a gradual merging of the mortar of its joints into the full plaster wall
surface above." ^^^ Due to Price's influence, plaster (stucco) construction became more
typical during Arden's second phase, replacing the more prevalent, cruder wood cabins
and bungalows built during the first phase.
The interior of the Second Homestead typifies the simplicity of Price's designs. The first
floor of the house has a very compact yet open plan, with only suggested divisions
lO^wilUam Price, "Decorative Treatment of Plaster Walls," The Brickbuilder. Vol. 20, 1911, 185.
between the dining area, living room, front living hall and kitchen. Upstairs, the spaces
are more divided simply by the nature of the tall gables which form two separate rooms,
each with a peaked ceiling. The southern orientation of the house, together with the bank
of casement windows, ensured that these spaces were light-filled, cheery, and suitable as
studio space (Plate 42).
At ±e core of the Second Homestead plan is a fireplace contained in the front living hall,
and set on an angle, directed towards the front doorway (Plate 41). In an effort to make
the new houses in Arden more suitable for year-round dwelling, the fireplace was more
prevalent in buildings designed after 1908. The fireplace, a very important characteristic
of craftsman homes, was considered to be an icon of domesticity, serving as a focal point
for the family in residence. Gustav Stickley claimed that every Craftsman home was to
have a central room that contained a fireplace - a space that provided "the opportunity
for people to come together, to sit around the fireplace, for there must always be an open
fire. It is the room where people read or study or work evenings, or play or dance...
where the children will store up memories that can never die."'*^^ In the Second
Homestead, the open arrangement of the rooms allowed for the dining room and living
room to benefit from this centrally located fireplace.
Bearing the inscription "Tomorrow is Another Day," the Second Homestead looks to the
future, speaking in an optimistic, idealistic tone that tells of the hope for the future of
Arden and for die country (Plate 43). This inscription also confirms the fact that despite
efforts to upgrade Arden' s physical appearance, Arden' s social objectives remained
^^^Stickley, More Craftsman Homes, 1.
firmly rooted and of paramount importance. In this case, the architecture had simply
become a vehicle with which to spread the word.
As the Second Homestead shows, the houses built during Arden's second phase did lose
some of their primitive bungalow characteristics, taking on more complex silhouettes
with their peaks and gables, decorated bargeboards, and stone chimneys. Moving away
from the standard gabled roof typical of Arden's earliest dwellings, the newer homes
featured projecting dormers and overhanging eaves, the angles and shadows of which
added greatly to the character of the structures. As the Second Homestead illustrates,
despite the increased intricacy of the house designs, the cozy, compact qualities of the
houses were retained.
There is no doubt that the heightened sophistication of Arden's structures during this
second phase of development was due to William Price's involvements, as well as the
recommendation made by Joseph Pels that the homes be "permanent and artistic in
character." The architectural characteristics advocated by William Morris in News From
Nowhere also begin to be more apparent during this second phase of building at Arden.
Morris believed homes should be low, not large, have tiled roofs, gardens, and should
back up to a forest of tall trees. In an idealistic sense, Morris thought homes should be
"comfortable,... as if they were, so to say, alive and sympathetic with the life of the
dwellers in them..."^'^
^^Morris, News From Nowhere, 9.
Price appears to have designed these homes in the second phase of Arden's development
to be more in keeping with his so-called "House of the Democrat," his notion of an ideal
house. Price described his model house as being:
...set in a place of greenery, for the world is a large place and its loveliness
mostly a wilderness; it shall be far enough away from its next for privacy
and not too far for neighborliness; it shall have a little space knit within a
garden wall; flowers shall creep up to its warmth, and flow, guided, but
unrebuked, over wall and low-drooped eaves... The rooms of this house
shall be ample, and low, wide-windowed, deep-seated, spacious, cool by
reason of shadows in summer, wanm by the ruddy glow of firesides in
winter, open to wistful airs, tight closed against the wintry blasts: a house,
a home, a shrine; a little democracy unjealous of of the greater world, and
pouring forth the spirit of its own sure justness for the commonwealth. ^^^
Friendly Gables (Plate 44), built in 1909 for the Steinlein family, was the first of the
houses built by Price with Pels' funds.^^^ The home was reportedly modeled after Price's
design for the Harry Hetzel house in Rose Valley. ^^^ Ljjjg the Second Homestead, the
interior was designed to be open, with a stone fireplace opposite the fi^ont door serving as
the central core of the house. The structure had exposed timber beams and low ceilings.
The heavy wood door, constructed of heavy vertical timbers and held in place with sturdy
iron hardware crafted at the Arden Forge, articulates the kind of craftsmanship with
which these houses were constructed. The Arden printery, run by Fred Steinlein, was
contained in the basement of Friendly Gables.
Green Gate, located along The Sweep, was also built in 1909, as the date on the chimney
indicates (Plates 45, 46). This was the second of the so-called "Fels' cottages" designed
by Price. ^ ^^ In fine Price style, the exterior of this small stuccoed house built for Lulu
^ ^*^Price, "House of the DemoCTat," 9.
^^^ Arden Club Talk, May 1909.
^^^ Arden Club Talk, March - April 1909.
'^'^^Arden Club Talk, June 1909.
Clark was decorated with inset tiles. This distinctive tilework was also incorporated into
nearly every one of Price's building designs in Rose Valley. Price believed clay tile, to
be the most befitting and most enriching decorative treatment for his hollow tile and
stucco dwellings. In an article on the decorative treatment of plaster walls. Price
If a closely allied material which can be reasonably embedded in the wall
surface be used in such a way as to seem part of that surface, there can be
no objection to such use of color for enrichment instead of modeled
ornament; and burnt clay products which can be fashioned in innumerable
forms and colors, glazed an unglazed, when so separated in design as to
allow the wall surface to penetrate and tie it to that surface is ahnost an
ideal form of wall decoration, i^"^
In Arden, tilework decoration was particularly suitable because it was relatively
inexpensive and yet added tremendously to the overall decorative style of a building.
There is no doubt that Price had Arden in mind when he expressed in his 191 1 article m
The Brickbuilder that "even in the humblest plaster cottage a few spots of color... may be
worked out to give the greatest distinction to the simplest design." i ^^ Another notable
characteristic of Green Gate's exterior is the bold rough stone chimney. Clearly, Price
used this stone chimney to communicate the permanence and sturdiness of the dwelling, a
quality missing from many of Arden' s earlier structures.
The dining room in Green Gate was embellished with a wrap-around mural painted above
the wainscoting (Plates 47, 48). This mural, executed by early Arden resident Buzz Ware
at the age of 16,ii^ exemplifies how the crafts of Arden residents were shared and
incorporated into one another's homes. The house was also outfitted with leaded glass
ll^Price, "Decorative Treatment of Plaster Walls," The Brickbuilder, Vol.20, 1911, 181.
ll^Conversation with Ann Berlin, the current resident of Green Gate, on April 5, 1992. She reported that
the mural was painted by Buzz Ware.
windows crafted by Ardenites, ironwork from the Arden Forge, and built-in furniture. In
true medieval style as advocated by William Morris, the built-in sideboard in the dining
room featured a gilded inscription "La Vero Vin Liberigo" ~ the good wine liberates!
Next to Green Gate and constructed during the same building campaign was The Lodge,
another William Price design (Plates 52, 53). i^'^ The Lodge was begun in 1910 for Miss
Lucy Darling who had previously been residing in the Red House. This house, like the
Second Homestead and Friendly Gables, was constructed of hollow tile and plaster. But
unlike Price's other Arden structures, the Lodge was characteristically symmetrical with a
broad center gable projecting from the front facade and a chimney at both the east and
west ends of the house. The center gable featured half- timbering, a method of decoration
advocated by William Morris for its ties to English medieval architecture and popularized
in The Craftsman}'^^ Half- timber decoration was liberally used by Price at Overbrook
and Rose Valley as well as on several of his Arden dwellings as a way of breaking up the
otherwise stark stucco facades with boldly contrasting timber elements.
Rest Cottage, located on the opposite side of the Village Green from Upton Sinclair's
house, was another Price-designed house built in 1910 (Plates 54-56). This house, with
its decorative bargeboards, overhanging eaves, stucco finish and rough stone foundation,
incorporated many of the characteristics recommended by Joseph Fels and outlined in his
letter of 1909.^1^ Like The Lodge, Rest Cottage featured modified half-timbering which
helped to give definition to the various projecting and recessed elements of the house.
The house was characterized by its broad sloping gabled roof extending down below the
^^"^ Arden Leaves, April 1911.
^^^Morris, News From Nowhere, 25.
^"^^ Arden Club Talk, March - April, 1909.
first floor level as if it were reaching for the ground, thereby enclosing the house into a
single unified form. On the west end of the house this unified form was not as
pronounced, the roof at this end extending down only to the second floor. Bands of
casement windows, placed on all four sides of the dwelling, provided for ample light and
ventilation into the interior portions of the house. The house was designed with two
chimneys -- an interior chimney of rough stone and an end chimney of patterned red
brick. Price's use of a variety of materials in this dwelling illustrated his interest in the
coloration and decorative qualities achieved by using different building materials in
varying combinations. This building has also undergone a renovation; a sizeable addition
was recently added along the south side of the dwelling.
The Upton Sinclair house, while not a Price design, exemplifies other building styles
under construction in Arden between 1909 and 1910 (Plate 57). In his autobiography,
Upton Sinclair stated that his two-story cottage, designed by Frank Stephens, was painted
brown on the exterior and stained on the interior; the front of the house had a living room
with an open fireplace; the living room had a high shelf running all the way around the
room that held his books. The cost to build the house was $2,600. 120 in his memoirs,
Sinclair reported that his fu-st year at Arden had been spent in a tent, enduring the winter
by installing a stove in his tent. Sinclair's daily routine over that winter included a
morning bath in a tin basin on a carpet of newspaper on the floor of the tent. It was
during that winter that his book Love 's Pilgrimage was accepted for publication, and he
quickly made the decision that the $1,250 advance payment that he received would be put
toward the construction of a cottage on his lot at Arden. When the house was completed
l^Oupton Sinclair, The Autobiography of Upton Sinclair (NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962), 166.
in the early spring of 191 1,^^! it was named "The Jungalow," a witty play on Sinclair's
highly acclaimed book The Jungle which had been published just four years before
Sinclair arrived in Arden. The house has now been greatly altered and is now commonly
referred to as the "Mary Bruce Inn."
Among the other Arden houses under construction in 1910 were Harold Wares' house
("The Barnacle") at 1704 Green Lane, W.L. Lightbown's house ("Cosy Comer") on the
southeast comer of the Village Green, and Olive Meyer's home at 2223 Mill Lane.^^^
The Katherine Ross bungalow, where Kitty Ross one of the early Arden tmstees lived,
was begun in 191 l(Plate 58). ^^^ Like Friendly Gables and the Lulu Clark house, its
interior space posessed low, beamed ceilings, leaded glass windows, and warm, rich,
unpainted wainscoting (Plate 59). In one of the upstairs bedrooms, there is a projecting
sunroom designed to provide a view of Arden's forests.
The renovation of The Brambles between 1910 and 1912 is also effective in illustrating
the type of improvements made in Arden during its second phase of development. Frank
B. Downs substantially altered The Brambles, expanding the house on either end by
adding two sprawling wings with broad overhanging eaves (Plates 60, 61). The main
shape of the original dwelling was maintained but was hardly recognizable due to the
expansions. The fragile timber piers originally supporting the two-story porch were
replaced by sturdy rough stone piers. The new wings featured the requisite rough stone
base, thus making the alterations to The Brambles in keeping with the design
121 Ibid., 166.
^^^Arden Leaves, 1910.
^^ Arden Leaves, May 1912.
modifications being made throughout Arden during this second phase of development.
These additions to The Brambles resulted in one of the very largest, most expensive
dwellings in Arden; this house was reportedly the first Arden residence to have running
water (Plate 62). 124
Interestingly, the people of Arden considered themselves to be pioneers, always trying to
make adaptations to their community and to their lifestyle to ensure the integrity and the
future of their Utopia. The Arden Leaves makes mention of "the confusion and struggle
of pioneer life, the building of shelter and finding of food, the establishment of industries
that shall keep the roof over one's head and the bread upon's one table.. ."^25 Among
these struggles, made evident in the slow evolution of the community, was the
development of sufficient space to serve the social and artistic needs of die community.
As the number of year-round residents began to increase the need for indoor common
space became especially pronoumced. Solutions for shortcomings of the community
often came in the form of additional buildings, that is, if the community had adequate
The Gild Hall was the first new community building to be built during Arden's second
phase of development. This structure was to replace the Red House, Arden's original
community gathering place that was by that time too small to serve the needs of Arden's
growing population. The Gild Hall was intended to be a clubhouse for the newly formed
124'Many Ardenites Are Sore Today," June 27, 1910, newspaper article in the Arden Scrapbook [HSD].
^^Arden Leaves. 1910.
Arden Club, an organization established in 1908 to promote the social and educational
interests of Arden. ^26
Understanding the dire need for a new clubhouse, but also aware of the Arden Club's
budgetary restrictions, Frank Stephens and Will Price decided in 1909 to give the old
Derrickson Bam to the Arden Club for use as a Gild Hall.^27 William Price drew up
plans for the conversion of the bam, estimating its cost of constmction to be $2,700. ^^^
Like most building projects in Arden, the constmction of Gild Hall was a community
effort. A "floor-laying bee" in June of 1910 attracted wide attention for it involved the
entire Arden community, even the most famed Arden resident Upton Sinclair.^29
The conversion in 1910 of the bam into the Gild Hall retained many of the original bam
characteristics, including the open stalls of the ground level on the south side of the
structure adapted into a performance area, the vertical planking of the walls, the gable
roof, and the rough stone foundation (Plates 65, 66). The interior spaces reveal the
building's early constmction. The hewn oak timber frame of the bam was exposed on the
inside of the Gild Hall, becoming an integral part of the interior decoration. The main
floor was used as a dance hall, and the basement area was adapted into a performance
space known as the Moonlight Theater. When this theater was first built, it was open to
the outside along the soudi side of the stmcture. A one-story rough stone and stucco
addition was attached to the northwest side of the building along Orleans Road to house
the Arden Club's library. Fireplaces were also a feature added during the bam
^^^Arden Club TalL 1908.
129'-Many .Ardenites are Sore Today," Wilmington Morning News, June 27, 1910, Arden Scrapbook, 1910.
At the time of this floor laying session, Upton Sinclair was new to Arden, having just relocated that
summer of 1910 from Fairhope, Alabama.
conversion: one fireplace served the upper level dance hall, while the other provided heat
to the library. Today, the large open room on the main floor contains both a dance hall
and performance space with a stage at the northeast end of the room. The basement now
has a kitchen and dining facilities where community dinners are held every Saturday.
The Gild Hall had originally been planned to be built along the Village Green where the
craftshop now stands, however, the offering of the bam by Stephens and Price for use as
the new Arden Club was an opportunity that could not be passed up. Not only was this a
more feasible offering but the location was considered to be somewhat more desirable
because it distributed Arden' s building development onto Arden' s Sherwood side
(southwest of Grubbs Road). Thus, the concentration of building along the Village Green
was then interrupted, the newest and one of the most significant buildings in Arden had
been established on the Sherwood Side of Arden. Consequently, the Gild Hall helped to
accelerate building efforts to the west of Grubb's Road.
The Craftshop was the second community building to be constructed in Arden' s second
phase (Plate 67). With a prominent location on the southwest comer of the Village Green
next to Lhe Red House, the Craftshop was a particularly important structure for Arden
because it marked a critical step towards encouraging the arts in Arden. In 1912 among
the many dilemmas that Arden faced was the question of how to earn a living in Arden.
Against the aspirations of Price and Stephens who wanted to see Arden be at least
somewhat self-sufficient, people living in Arden continued to retum to the city during the
Fall and Winter because the city was where they earned their wages. This being the case,
a logical solution according to Price and Stephens was to build a craftshop which would
provide Ardenites with a place to produce their goods. The building, started in 1913, was
intended as a place such as the "Banded-workshop" presented in Morris' News From
Nowhere where artists could work together in a cooperative situation, sharing ideas and
generating artistic energy, ^^o The hope was that the provision of artist space would
enable Arden artists to produce wares to sell outside of Arden.
William Price, the Gildmaster of the Craftsmen's Gild, designed and supervised the
construction of the Craftshop, reporting on construction progress in every issue of the
Arden Leaves. In keeping with its intended puipose, the craftshop was designed to house
a variety of crafts. In the basement, in addition to the water pump and other plumbing
equipment, was a bakery. On the first floor, space was provided for a woodworking
shop, a salesroom for selling Arden arts, and a room for sewing and costume work.i^i
On the upper floors, there were areas designated for weaving and metalwork, other small
artist studios, and a large room intended for classroom use.
Under Price's guidance, the craftshop was carried out in an expedient manner, far more
quickly than most building projects in Arden. Conceived in February 1913, the craftshop
was already built up to its second floor by the end of that summer. The building was
constructed with a concrete foundation, a first floor of rough stone, and a wood frame
upper floor with a stucco and half-timber exterior. 132 The oak and poplar timber used in
l-^^Morris, News From Nowhere, 52; Arden Leaves, June 1913.
^^^ Arden Leaves, August 1913. Price, in his description of the progress of the craftshop, could not help but
include some editorial comment regarding his distaste for the pretentious clothing admired by Americans.
Telling of the space within the craftshop designated as a sewing room, Price states that he hopes that "some
designing person will have the courage to make clothing for daily use which will distinguish between
draping the human figure and upholstering it, and will do something to put out of fashion the black derby
hats and colorless remnants of starched shirts with superimposed suspenders..."
^•^^Arden Leaves, August 1913.
the construction of the building was cut from the Arden Woods, carefully selected so that
the woods would not be negatively impacted by the cutting. ^33
Today the Arden Craftshop no longer functions as it was originally planned. The
craftshop was closed in 1936 and it has since been converted into an apartment building
While the Gild Hall and Craftshop, both intended to enhance the community and artistic
spirit in Arden, were in fact successfully constructed, the Arden Church was one structure
that never came to be. Nonetheless, the church is important because it demonstrates the
determination of Arden residents m their neverending battle to further improve their
community. Planned as a non-denominational church, the Arden Church was to serve not
as a place of worship but as a symbol of the community, a place to hang the village
chimes and to house the great pipe organ.i34 The church was also to serve as a place to
gather to remember those who had passed away. Without a church it was thought that
there was "no fitting place in which [the people of Arden] may meet together, or come
alone in memory of our own, to be out of the noise and struggle of shop and marketplace
a little, out of the narrow things of home and hearthfire, to remember and to hope..."i35
Not only was the church to serve as another community place, but the construction of the
church was to provide employment for Arden residents, and "to foster the art crafts
^^^Arden Leaves, July 1913.
^^Arden Leaves. December 1912. WUl Price had reportedly donated an organ from Rose Valley which
had been repaired and tuned by Arden resident J.C. Cake.
^^^ Arden Leaves, October 1912.
already growing among us -- masonry, carpentry, wood carving, painting and the like,
and will begin others that should be growing among us, modeling, stone carving and
wrought metal." ^^^
The idea of a church was first proposed in 1909 although active solicitation of funds for
the church did not begin until 1910. Will Price came up with a design for the church
based on an English church design procured by English architect Raymond Unwin.
Reportedly, Unwin sent the design from England to Price to be adapted for use at Arden.
According to the Arden Leaves, the design is from a thirteenth century English church at
Stoke Poges, a medieval style of the sort advocated by Englishmen William Morris and
John Ruskin. i37 Price's original pencil sketch of Arden's proposed church is dated
February 9, 1910 (Plate 70). The church is rather squat with a two story, square
buttressed tower, topped with a spire. The main entrance to the church is on the first
floor of this tower. Tlie site selected for the church was a quarter-acre plot, on the
Sherwood Side of Arden on the Meadow Green, at the point where The Sweep meets
Grubb's Road (see Appendix E for map).
Though all the necessary funds for the church construction had not yet been raised, work
on the church nevertheless began, with the foundations being laid in 1910.^38 Some
believed this hasty approach to the construction of the church was foolhardy, others
thought that although an impractical approach, it was the only way visionaries achieved
their dreams. Unfortunately for Arden, the church was never finished and only the
^^^ Arden Leaves, September 1911.
^^^ Arden Leaves, November 1910.
foundations, still visible in the meadow below the Green Memorial Garden, remain as a
reminder to this unfulfilled dream.
The Cooler, the local ice cream parlor, represented another useful community space,
designed as a space for casual congregation (Plate 71). Its broad covered porch open to
Millers Lane invited people to sit and enjoy their refreshments. Located behind the
Craftshop, the Cooler was ideally situated to accomodate not only the artisans working in
the Craftshop but all the residents living near the Village Green. No exact date of
construction of the Cooler was available, however it is presumed that it was built after the
craftshop was built in 1913; the first ice cream parlor was reportedly located in the
craftshop. Sadly, the Cooler is no longer standing, and has been replaced with a parking
One of the most notable and progressive residential projects in Arden was the
establishment of Little Arden, a grouping of small cottages built in close proximity to the
Craftshop. Built on the triangular parcel of land bounded by the Stile Path, Millers Road
and Lower Lane, Little Arden was an attempt at low cost housing, intended to attract
master craftsmen to Arden (see Appendix E for map). This small cluster of housing
consisted of four very small artisans' cottages grouped together to minimize land rents
and maximize neighborly security. Today, these homes (1802-1806 Millers Road and
2212 The Sweep) have been greatly altered, with the exception of Rest Harrow, the small
cottage at 1806 Millers Road, which has retained its original shape and much of its detail.
Rest Harrow, oriented to the south, has a saltbox configuration, the back roof extending
beyond the ground floor of the house (Plate 72). The projecting vestibule and small
central dormer marked the front of the house. The vestibule, with its stone and brick
detail added color to the house. The decoratively swirled pattern of the plaster under the
eaves and along the roof of the vestibule also contributed to the character of this small
dwelling. Casement windows of various sizes allowed light and air into the structure.
Continued Development of Arden
Due to limited documentation from the years between 1914 and 1916, it is difficult to
trace exactly what occurred during this period in terms of building activity. It was
reported that Arden had a total of roughly one hundred dwellings by October 1915,
indicating that over sixty homes had been built in the six-year period between 1909 and
The one area in which Arden most definitely gained ground during the period from 1912
to 1916 was in the national arena. Newspapers from all over the country were reporting
on the activities and growth of Arden, thus establishing the town's national reputation.!^
Brought into the national limelight by Upton Sinclair's two-year residence, Arden
managed to sustain its national appeal long after Sinclair left in 1912. In this national
coverage, not only was Arden earning recognition as a Single Tax community but, due to
the establishment of the craftshop, it was also earning a name for itself as a leading
craftsman village. Arden's newly completed craftshop and the community's variety of
handicrafts were the subject of a 1914 article in the New York Tribune. This article,
l^^Joseph Dana MUler, Single Tax Year Book (NY: Single Tax Review Publishing Co., 1917).
140 Arden Papers, Oversize Folder #8 (1912) and #10 (1914), [HSD].
entitled "Restoring to the Home its Individuality," heralded Arden for successfully
resurrecting the medieval craftsman tradition -- "to bring once more within the reach of
all the beautiful, artistic products which the master workmen of old might have made."!"*!
Documentation suggests that Will Price's involvement in the buildings of Arden may
have waned somewhat after 1913. However, his contributions to the Arden Leaves and
his participation in Arden plays continued until his death in 1916, showing that even
though his participation in the physical development of Arden may have slowed, he
continued to play an active role in the spiritual development of the community through
his writings and his inspirational ideals. While it is Frank Stephens who is most
remembered among Ardenites today, the legend of Will Price also manages to live on
through the architecture. Nothing more clearly indicates Price's enduring spirit and
commitment to Arden than his charming and unassuming buildings that continue to grace
^■^l "Restoring to the Home its Individuality," New York Tribune, September 27, 1914.
William Price once stated that "As new conditions arise, as civilizations wax and wane,
architecture keeps the records." i'^^ Arden proves the validity of this statement, for it is
the architecture and the plan of Arden that recount the stories of the community's
founding and its gradual development. Through the language of architecture, the houses
and buildings of Arden successfully explain the social objectives of the founders, the
obstacles facing the founders in their attempts to achieve these goals, and the impact that
these obstacles had in shaping the community.
As this examination of Arden' s architecture and planning illustrates, the general form of
the community and the character of its structures slowly evolved, mirroring the
deliberate, gradual transformation of Arden from a humble summer village to a popular
year-round community. The founders of Arden, Frank Stephens and Will Price, began by
establishing the essential elements of the community in order to generate development
momentum. Arden's first buildings indicate this strategy. The first building campaign
gave rise to the Homestead, the Arden Inn, the Red House and a number of dwellings.
Stephens broke ground at Arden in 1900 witii his Homestead, an heroic, flag-flying
effort, showing his determination to get Arden underway. The Arden Inn was important
because it provided accomodations, thus helping to facilitate visits to Arden and lure new
residents. The Red House provided Arden with its first artisan space and community
I'^^price, "DecorativeTreatmentof Plaster Walls," The Brickbuilder, Vol. 20, 1911, 181-90.
With the exception of these buildings, growth in Arden during its first eight years was
only moderate, signifying the reluctance among Arden's carefree sunmier visitors to
wholeheartedly commit to the community by building permanent dwellings. Thus, tents
remained the norm. There is no doubt that this reluctance was due to a general feeling of
uncertainty about Arden's progressive Single Tax land ownership system. As the
architecture illustrates, however, this reluctancy began to dissipate after 1908.
The founding of the Arden Club in 1908, the gift of Joseph Pels in 1909, and no doubt
Upton Sinclair's presence in Arden from 1910 to 1912 were among the many factors that
boosted Arden's popularity and led to the surge in building activity starting in 1909. In
terms of the physical elements of Arden, this second phase of development was
characterized by a more sophisticated architecture, a more rational physical plan, and a
more organized system of land assessments, all helping to further increase interest in
Arden. The tents and the simple, single-story bungalows typical of Arden's early days
gave way to more refined, more permanent structures. The construction during this
development phase of the Gild Hall and the Craf tshop was important in demonstrating the
determination and perseverance of Stephens and Price to see their goals through, for these
buildings were integral to the social objectives of the community, providing places for
social interaction and artistic cooperation. The completion of these community buildings
points to the fact that despite the rather slow start to Arden between 1903 and 1908, the
goals of Price and Stephens remained firmly rooted.
Not only is the architecture of Arden important in telling the history of Arden and its
Utopian goals, but it is also significant as a record of sentiments within American society
at the turn of the century when people were struggling with the consequences of
nineteenth century industrialization. The homes of Arden demonstrate the increasing
interest among Americans to seek alternative living situations in rural areas; to live more
simply; to reject the Victorian excesses of the post-Civil War period; to alleviate
economic disparity within American society; and to live in cooperative harmony.
In addition to creating a physical record of the community's history, the architecture
encapsulates the spirit of Arden - the community vitality and the artistic creativity. It is
this lively community spirit of Arden, which Price and Stephens so successfully
established through the architecture and the plan, that is the glue keeping Arden alive
today. This community spirit and camaraderie, still evident in the weekly Wednesday
folk dances, Saturday community dinners, frequent gild meetings, theatrical
performances, and the numerous other ongoing activities, are what sustain the gregarious,
interactive behavior of Arden' s residents that was intended from the start.
This study demonstrates that the architecture and the physical plan of Arden should be
highlighted and preserved, for they hold all of the community's secrets. They are not
only tangible reminders of the past, but influences on future behavior as well. The stories
of Arden cannot be carried on forever by word of mouth for they will lose their accuracy.
It is hoped that this document will give Ardenites a firmer understanding of the goals of
Price and Stephens and an awareness that the architecture, being a physical reflection of
these goals, must be respectfully preserved in order to successfully carry on Arden' s
Plate 1- Henry George. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 2 . Frank Stephens. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 3 . Waiiam L. Price at Drafting Board. Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 4 . "Tower House" -- Wayne, Pennsylvania. Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 5 . Woodmont Cowrtei}' George Thomas.
Plated. W.L, Price House - 6334 Sherwood Road, Overbrook, PA. Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 7 . "Kelty" -- W.L. Price House -- Overbrook, PA. BuUt 1899. Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 8 . Alice Barber Stephens Residence. Rose Valley, Pennsylvania Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 9 . Hawley McLanahan Residence. Rose Valley, Pennsylvania Courtesy George Thomas.
i-rice and Kc-^a-ar.ar.; .--.ose
Hose Valley, Pa. 1910 - 19:
Vcliey irrrorovenen- Co"?any ^.oases,
11. House" during ccnstructior..
Plate 10 . Improvement Houses. Rose Valley, PA - Under Construction. Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 11 . Improvement Houses. Rose Valley, PA -- Completed. Courtesy George Thomas.
Plate 12. Atlas of the State of Delaware, Philadelphia: Pomeroy & Beers, 1868, (HSD). Shows Grubb's
Comer, Odd Fellow Hall and the J.S. Derrickson Fann. Note the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad has not yet
been laid. Courtesy Historical Society of Delaware.
Plate 13 . Atlas of New Castle County Delaware, Philadelphia: D.G. Beers, 1893. This map, drawn nine
years before Arden was established, indicates that there was little growth or development in the vicinity of
the Derrickson Farm between 1868 and 1893. There appear to be few additions to the region in terms of
farmhouses, and the names of the principal landowners also remained unchanged. The one notable change,
however, is that the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad has been laid by this time. Courtesy Historical Society of
Plate 14 . Derrickson Bam. Southeast Facade. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 15 . United States Geological Survey Map, "Marcus Hook, PA - DE - NJ," 1948.
Plate 16 . Arden Plan, 1910. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 17. View of Naaman's Creek. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 18 . View of Naaman's Creek. Courtesy Peg Aumact
Plate 19 . Pageant outside the Arden Inn. Date of photograph unknown. Courtesy Peg AumacL
Plate 20 . Tennis along the Village Green. Date of photograph c.1904. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 21. "Jumping Rope." Date of photograph unknown. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Camp meeting in progress. From Gorham, Camp Meeting Manual.
Plate 22. Camp Meeting. Reprmttd from John Sttigoe's Common Landscape of America, 1580-1845
(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982), 233.
Plate 23 . Arden Entrance Stile. Photograph by author, 1993.
Plate 24 . Field Theater. Photo taken c. 1909. Arden" s first theater. From the start, drama played a major
role in life at Arden and continues to do so today. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 25 . Bide-A-Wee Interior. View illustrates the use of high wainscoUng, exposed timber beams and
rough stone fireplace. The table and chairs are Arden-produced. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 26 . Arden Tent. Courtesy Peg Awnack.
Plate 27 . Homestead. View of the Homestead as originally built. Photograph taken c. 1902-9. Courtesy
Plate 28 . Homestead. Photograph by author, 1993.
Plate 29 . Arden Inn. Rear view from the south. Date of photograph unknown. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 30 . Red House. Built in 1901 on a prominent site along the edge of the Village Green at the comer
of Cherry Lane and Miller's Lane. Photograph shows Red House to the far right with the rest of Cherry
Lane in the background. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 31 . Red House. Side view looking towards the Village Green. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 32 . Red House after Craftshop was added in 1913. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 33 . The Monastery. This small cabin was built in 1908 for Frank Stephens' son, Don, as his
bachelor's pad. Photograph taken c. 1908. Courtesy Don Holcomb.
Plate 34 . Monk Window in the Monastery. This stained glass Monk Plate, crafted for Don Stephens by
an Arden resident, is incorporated into one of the leaded glass windows of The Monastery. Photograph by
Plate 35 . Admiral BenBow. Illustrates the use of pergolas and fences in Arden. Courtesy Peg Aumack
Plate 36 . First Cabin. This building was one of a series of cabins designed during Arden' s first phase of
buUding. It is a very simple dweUing, built of plywood with a log veneer. The cabin has no chimney.
Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 37 . The Brambles. Original form. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 38. Arden Sawmill. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 39 . Second Homestead. Under construction in 1909. This view shows the hollow tile used in the
construction of this dwelling. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 40 . Second Homestead. View of the Second Homestead ciyuv showing the proximity of the
dwelling to the Field Theater which appears in the foreground. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 41. Second Homestead. First floor interior; features a central fireplace, built-in comer cabinet with
leaded window doors in the dining area, exposed timber joists, and high wainscoting throughout.
Photograph by the author, 1993.
Plate 42 . Second Homestead. Interior view of one of the studio spaces on the upper floor of the Second
Homestead. This shot iUustrates the way Price maximized the use of natural light in his interiors,
parucularly in spaces intended as art studios, by orienting the house towards the south. Note the Arden
Forge fixture hung from the ceUing. Photograph by the author, 1993.
Plate 43. Second Homestead. Exterior view of south facade. Photograph by the author, 1993.
Plate 44 . Friendly Gables. This home was one of the first houses to be built after Joseph Pels presented
his eift of S5.000 to Arden in 1909. It is located along LitUe Lane. It was designed by William Price and
modeled after the Hetzel House in Rose Valley. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 45 . Green Gate. North facade. Built in 1909. Designed by WiUiam Price, this house incorporated a
number of his signature details including the rough stone chimney, the plaster construction and, most
notably, the decorative tiles embedded in the exterior plaster. Photograph by author, 1993.
Plate 46 . Green Gate. Photograph by the author, 1993.
Plate 47 . Green Gate. Interior mural. Photograph by author, Spring 1992.
Plate 48 . Green Gate. Interior mural detail. Photograph by author, Spring 1992.
Plate 49 . Woolery's Grocery Store and Post Office. Built in 1909. Courtesy of Arden Archives.
Plate 50 . Foote House. "The Willows." 1808 Harvey Road. Converted from the original Derrickson
farmhouse c. 1909. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 5 1 . Foote House. Photograph by author, 1993.
Plate 52 . The Lodge. Southwest view of The Lodge, early photograph, exact date of photograph uknown.
This house was built for Miss Lucy Darling who had previously been residing in the Red House. The
Lodge, designed by William Price, was started in 1910. This house, like the Second Homestead, Rest
Cottage, and Friendly Gables, was constructed of hollow tile and plaster. But unlike the other structures it
is symmetrical with a broad center dormer projecting from the front facade and a chimney at both the east
and west ends of the house. Courtesy Don Holcomb.
Plate 53 . The Lodge. West facade. Photograph by author, February 1993.
Plate 54 . Rest Cottage. Under construction, 1910. This view of the southwest comer of the house shows
the hollow tile construction method utilized by Price. This dwelUng was designed by WiUiam Price and
constructed following Joseph Pels' plea for more permanent architecture to be built in Arden. This house
was built of hollow tile and plaster with a rough stone foundation. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 55 . Rest Cottage under construction, 1910. This photograph of the west facade of the house shows
the wood frame construction on the upper floors of the house. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 56 . Rest Cottage. Photograph by author, 1992.
Plate 57 . Jungalow. Early view of Upton Sinclair's home after its construcUon in 1910. Courtesy Don
Plate 58 . Katherine Ross Bungalow. Exterior from northwest. Built in 191 1. Photograph by author,
Plate 59 . Katherine Ross Bungalow. Interior view Ulustrates the use of unpainted woodwork and leaded
glass windows. Photograph by author, 1992.
Plate 60. The Brambles. As it was being expanded by Frank B. Downs in 191 1. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 61 . The Brambles ('•Downs Cottage"). Post-expansion. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 62 . The Brambles ("Downs Cottage"). Photograph by author, 1992.
Plate 63 . Chestnut Burr. BuUt after 1909 for the Shaw family, 2108 Sherwood Road. Courtesy Peg
Plate 64 . Camp Beulah. Built after 1909 for the Hambly family. Located at 2107 Hillside on the
Sherwood side of Arden. Courtesy Peg Aumack.
Plate 65 . Derrickson Barn before conversion to Gild Hall in 1909. Courtesy Don Holcomb.
Plate 66 . Derrickson Bam after conversion to Gild Hall in 1909. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 67 . Craftshop. Located adjacent to the Red House (the building in the foreground) at the comer of
Cherry Lane and Millers Lane. The Craftshop was constructed in 1913. Courtesy Peg AumacL
Plate 68 . Craftshop. Photograph by author, 1993.
n p n
Plate 69 . Work produced by the Arden Forge. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 70 . Arden Church. Original pencil sketch by William L.Price 1910. Courtesy Arden Archives.
Plate 71 . The Cooler. Built as an ice cream parlor. Courtesy Peg Aumact
Plate 72 . Rest Harrow. This dwelling was built as part of Little Arden, a grouping of small cottages
intended to attract master craftsmen to Arden. These small dwellings were built along the Stile Path
leading from the entrance stile to the Red House. Photograph by author, 1993.
1 879 Henry George publishes Progress and Poverty
1890 William Morris publishes News From Nowhere. First printed in The
1881 Frank Stephens joins the Philadelphia Sketch Club where he was a member until
his death in 1935. i'*3
1895 Frank Stephens and group of others called the "Jailhouse Gang" came to Delaware
to sell the state on the Single Tax teachings of Henry George. l'^
June 12, 1900 162 acres sold by the Derrickson family to George [Frank] Stephens for
$9,000; 1^5 $2,500 was paid in cash and the remaining $6,500 was a mortgage later
taken up by Joseph Pels.
Buildings existing on the farm property at the time of purchase: ^^^
• farmhouse - located on west side of Grubb Road. This structure was later
converted by into a house called "The Willows."
• Ice House - located at the bottom of Walnut Lane in the Arden woods.
Built prior to the time when Arden's plan was conceived, the ice house is the
only structure built within the woodlands, the area that in the plan was
supposed to remain open and undeveloped. The structure was located near
the river due to its original function as an icehouse. It has always been held
by the Renzetd family. It was originally the home of Marcus Aurelius
Renzetti, an artist who taught in Philadelphia at what is now the Art School
of Philadelphia. The house is now being lived in by the blacksmith Pete
• Tool and Wagon Shed -- Converted into a house for Hamilton "Buzz" Ware
c. 1919 (the year Joan Colgan, his daughter, was bom). The house was
commonly refeired to as "The Barnacle." Originally, it retained early
features of this bam building such as the gambrel roof, big bam door, and
hay mow (a hay storage area on the second floor), but it has been changed
many times over the years, it is now being lived in by Joan Colgan's son
• Bam -- Converted into the GUd Hall in 1909-10.
1900 Original Homestead - built by Frank Stephens.
^^•'Philadelphia Sketch Club Membership Book, Archives of American Art Microfilm #3666. Charles H. Stephens
was the president of the Sketch Club from 1913 to 1916.
■'''^Frank Stephens Autobiography.
I'^^Register of Deeds, Wihnington, DE. Deed Book G17, 345. June 12, 1900.
^^"Discussion with Joan Ware Colgan, December 3, 1992
Oct. 10, 1901 The 162 acres conveyed to the three trustees:^^' Frank Stephens
1901 Price established Rose Valley, PA
[1902 William Price becomes a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club where he was a
member off and on until his death in 1916.]^'^^
July 25, 1902 First issue ofArden Advocate^^^
- bridge with railing is reportedly being built over Naaman's Creek
Buildings in place by July 1902:
• The Brambles (built by George Leach and Harry Vandever, aided by
Frank Stephens) - being lived in by the Louis Cohen family of
Philadelphia (i.e.Mother Bloor)
• Saints Rest - Frank Martin's house at end of St. Martin's Lane
• The Red House - being lived in by Mrs. Elizabeth Zimmerman and Miss
• Admiral Benbow ~ being lived in by Miss Margaret Stephens, Roger
Stephens, Donald Stephens, Gertrude Martin, Euphemia and Carrie Martin,
Elizabeth Harris, Winthrop Smith, Winthrop Smith, Jr.
• Arden Inn
• The Homestead
• The cellar of the Harry Vandever house is dug
1905 First winter spent in Arden; Mother Bloor spent it at The Brambles.
1906 Upton Sinclair pubUshed The Jungle. ^^^
[1908-10 Gustav Stickley built Craftsman Farms in Morris Plains, NJ. Stickley purchased
farm property where he sought to establish a fann school for boys. Only four
structures were actually built -- the main house, two cottages (originally planned
for craftsmen), and a workshop. Due to financial difficulties, the plans for his farm
school were put on hold. Stickley and his family ended up living there,
coimnuting into NYC to his showroom, until 1915 when he filed for
January 31, 1908 Deed of Trust amended to give Arden leaseholders rights that were not established
in the original Deed of Trust. This supposedly helped to attract people to Arden
who were initially reluctant to join the new colony due to the fact that leaseholders
were given so few rights.^^^
I'^'^Register of Deeds, Wilmington, DE. Deed Book V18, 36, October 17, 1901.
1 ^Philadelphia Sketch Club Membership Book, Archives of American Art Microfilm #3666.
^^^ Arden Advocate, July 25, 1902.
^^^Sinclair, The Jungle.
l^^Pamphlet on Craftsman Farms, Craftsman Farms Foun. Inc., 1991. Acquired at Craftsman Farms, Parsippany-Troy
1^2"Arden Book," 6.
July 16, 1908
Oct. 23, 1908
Arden Club founded - its purpose was to promote the social and educational
interests of Arden ^^^
First issue of Arden Club Talk
- "Monastery" (Don Stephens' bachelor's pad) nearing completion ^^^
Model done for the proposed clubhouse ^^^
Joseph Fels cleared up an additional 35 acres from his mortgage to make
settlement possible on the Sherwood side of Arden. ^^^
Arden Club Talk reports that there are 36 dwellings constructed in Arden, not
including the tents. ^^^
Joseph Fels gives $5,000 to Arden.^^^ This money set into motion a building
boom in Arden which attempted to construct buildings of a more permanent nature
so as to attract more year-round dwellers to Arden, to encourage its use as a year-
round community instead of merely a summer community. We expect that this is
when Will Price was called into design some of the buildings. Interestingly, most
of these buildings were centered around the Village Green. Buildings thought to
be a result of this building boom include the following: ^^^
• Green Gate ~ the Lulu Clark House
» The Lodge
» The Second Homestead
* Rest Cottage
Decision made to convert the existing 45' square Derrickson bam to a clubhouse
rather than building the new structure proposed by Don and Frank Stephens in
Nov. 1908; the conversion, designed by Price was to cost $2,700.^^^
- Arden Club Talk reports that Joseph Fels "left, subject to Will Price's order,
several thousand dollars to build at once four or five cottages from that master
craftsman's designs: the one stipulation was that they should be permanent and
artistic in character, with stone foundations and cellars, hollow brick and concrete
walls and at)ove all, literally, the red tiled roofs so beautiful in the scenery of
England and the Netherlands." ^^^
- 3 of these are apparently underway:
• Steinlein's house - modeled after the Hetzel's home in Rose Valley;
basement to be used as printing shop
• no specifics were mentioned on the other two houses under
^^^Arden Club Talk, October 23, 1908.
^^^ Arden Club Talk. November 28, 1908.
^^^ Arden Club Talk, February 1909.
^^'^ Arden Club Talk, January 1909.
'■^"Letter dated Feb 4, 1909 from Frank Stephens to his son Don.
l-'^Discussion with Joan Ware Colgan, December 3, 1992
^^ Arden Club Talk, March/AprU 1909.
August 1, 1909
June 25, 1910
- the other buildings to be designed by Price were mentioned as the Club House
and the Village Church; but the people of Arden act on John Ruskin's advice to
"build the little roofs before the big ones."
The Sherwood side of Arden was just beginning to be developed. Accounts
reports that development in Arden was booming at this time.^^^
It was proposed that an Arden Church be built. "Our need of a village church at
Arden is not as a place to worship in, seeing that we have the sky overhead and the
trees around us at all times, but that we may have a belfry in which to hang the
chimes we will some day play on Chrishnas Eve and Sabbath evenings, and have
also a place for a great pipe organ; and last of all, for the ashes of our dead."*^^
Work began on establishing a formal set of pedestrian paths through Arden. ^^
Every piece of Arden land had a leaseholder and there was a waiting list.^^^
Frank Martin resigns as trustee; Charles Shandrew takes his place.
Second Homestead built
Total of 1 15 leaseholders and 50 dwellings; 150 people live in Arden in summer
and 50 in winter.
The Red House became the location of Arden' s first school house, to serve as the
educational facility for the rapidly increasing number of children residing at Arden
through the winter. '^^
Upton Sinclair wrote from Fairhope, AL inquiring about the community of Arden.
It is presumed that the information he received in response to this letter resulted in
his moving to Arden later that year.^^^
Floor-Laying Bee where all members of the community were invited to help lay
the floors of the new Gild Hall. Newspaper article entitled "Many Ardenites Are
Sore Today" reports on the floor-laying and also comments on the conmiunity of
• still a limited number of dwelUngs (75 total) constructed so many people are
living in tents at this time; of the dwellings that do exist by this time are Frank
Stephens' Homestead and the home of Fred Steinlein. Scott Nearing, the Wharton
professor and Upton Sinclair are reportedly living in tents.
• there is a lack of noise; peace and tranquility prevail.
^^^ Arden Club Talk, May 1909.
^^^Arden Club Talk, August 1909.
'^^^ Arden Leaves, January 1911.
l°^Letter from Upton Sinclair dated January 1910. The letter, sent from Fairhope, AL, asked for information about
168"Many Ardenites are Sore Today," Wilmington Morning News, June 27, 1910. Arden Scrapbook, 1910.
July 29, 1910
An article appears in the Philadelphia Bulletin highlighting Arden. Its tone is that
of an advertisement, attempting to lure Philadelphians to Arden. Interestingly, the
article makes a point of explaining that Arden is notyM^r a summer community.
"Many of the houses that occupy the lots are substantially built and are intended
for permanent use, while others are of the bungalow type intended for summer use
Other Houses/Buildings under construction: ^^^
• Ware -- "The Barnacle"
• Lightbown -- "Cosy Comer"
• Upton Sinclair's "Jungalow"
• Miss Myers
• Harvey Train Station
Houses already built by November 1910: ^^^
• Clement House
• Green Gate -- Lulu Clark House
• Foote House - The Willows
• Cherry Lodge
• Clement House
• Lone Pine
• Nusser House
The construction of the Village Church is discussed. It is reported that James
Habbert has been blasting the chosen site for stone to use in the construction of the
chiu^ch. This is one of the first articles included in the Arden Leaves pertaining to
the construction of the church, most every article reports the progress of the plans
for the church, and the extreme need for contributions by village members. ^^^
The cost estimate for the church as designed by Price was $5,000 (or roughly
$3,000 excluding the tower and spire). ^^^
Upton Sinclair moved into his new home, known as the "Jungalow," located on the
Village Green. l'^4 Hg uyg^j ttjej-e until 1911.
Electric lights available in Arden.
House for Will Ross under construction on Little Lane.^^^
169r;,e Philadelphia Bulletin, July 29, 1910.
^'^Arden Leaves, November 1910.
1 '^Ibid. These houses made up the "winter colony" of Arden. All of these houses were being lived in during the
winter of 1910.
'■'^ Arden Leaves, December 1910.
'■ Arden Leaves, February 1911.
Single Tax colony in Halidon, Maine was then underway. WL Price, F. Stephens
and Fiske Warren were the trustees. ^^^
Friendly Gables is finished by this time.
The Lodge was finished by this time and moved into by Miss Darling.^^^
Raffeisen GUd established to lend money for Arden projects. Of the five Single
Tax communities in the United States at this time, Arden was the first to have a
The Spreading Oak was finished by this time. It contained 16 bedrooms and a
large porch. It offered rooms for rent. Unlike the Arden Inn, the Spreading Oak
(named for the large oak tree off the porch) did not offer meals.^'^
A feature article in the Arden Leaves discusses the building of the Arden Church.
In this article, Frank Stephens tries to convince his readers of the worthiness of the
church so that they might contribute to the cause. Stephens knew the realities of
building the church, understanding that it would take a considerable amount of
financial support fi'om the community members. He explains that the church is to
be built on a quarter-acre plot "on the Sherwood side, at the comer of the Meadow
Green, on Grubb's Lane, opposite where the Sweep comes into it, at the foot of the
old graveyard..." ^^'^
The design of the church - a spired, square-towered stone church ~ is based on a
thirteenth century English church at Stoke Poges. Stephens alludes to the fact that
this church is where Gray wrote the "Elegy." The literary connection no doubt
made this prototype particularly appropriate for Arden according to Stephens and
to Wilham Price. Stephens writes that English architect Raymond Unwin went to
much trouble to secure drawings of this church for Arden.^^^
80 Leaseholds in the Woodlands and 47 Leaseholds in Sherwood
Will Ross Bungalow under construction. It is located at the northwest comer of
Gmbb and Orleans. Description states that it was to be 25' X 42' with porches on
the front and back.^^^
For sale at this time:^^^
• Archer N Tevis House
• Sarah Moore house
• Upton Sinclair's house
^"^^ Arden Leaves, March 1911.
'■'' Arden Leaves, April 1911.
^'° Arden Leaves, September 1911.
'^^ Arden Leaves, May/June 1911.
^^'^ Arden Leaves, September 1912.
Arden Leaves, May 1912.
There is still concern that Arden is still lacking enough year-round residences to
make it a truly viable year-round community. ^^
The fact that the digging and the laying of the foundation for the Village Church
began without securing the funds necessary to carrying out the construction of the
entire church, speaks to the determinism of the people of Arden. They were
dreamers. They were not going to let money get in their way of fulfilling their
dream for a church. Consequently, the foundation remains as a testament to their
determination, as unrealistic as it may have been in the case of the church.
Will Price, the Gildmaster of the Craftsmens' Gild, is in charge of the village
crafts. Tht is, he was playing an active role in not only the promotion of the crafts
but in the provision of adequate facilities for the crafts such as a printery and a
craftshop. In March 1913, Price was involved in preparing the drawings for the
construction of the craft shop. It is anticipated that construction was to get started
in April 1913. Price describes his plans for the building to include a "sunny room
for sewing and costume work and on the upper floor a studio and drafting room
with north light and at least a couple of rooms with southern exposure for some of
our smaller aafts." Price planned to put this new building directly in back of the
existing carpenter shop.^^^
Gildmaster Price reports that the concrete foundation for the craftshop is in place
and the adjacent smithshop has been enlarged. ^^^
Gildmaster Price reports that the joists of the main floor are in place and work is
progressing steadily. Reportedly the joists and the heavy timbers are oak and
poplar and cut from the Arden woods. The timber was then hewn by Lewis
Palmer and Wheeler Booth, clearly an example of the medieval building traditions
being sustained in some of the construction being carried out in Arden at this time.
Evidently, the craftsmen in Arden took great pride not in their methods as well as
their artistic products. ^^^
Price reports that the stone walls of the first floor are completed and that the
second floor hewn floor joists are being put in place. F*rice anticipates that the rest
of the building will be framed during August Price mentions the various uses that
will be housed within the new structure: ^^^
• a bakery run by Mrs. Marcellus in the western half of the basement
• woodworking shop on the main floor, connecting to the already existing
• salesroom in the southwest comer of the main floor
• sewing room in the northwest portion of the main floor. Price writes that
in this sewing room he "hopes that some designing person will have the
courage to make clothing for daily use which will distinguish between
draping the human figure and reupholstering it, and will do something to
put out of fashion the black derby hats and colorless remnants of starched
shirts with superimposed suspenders."
• the SE room on the upper floor is to house the weaving looms
• the SW comer is to be the room for silver metalwork
Arden Leaves, November 1912.
'^"^ Arden Leaves, March 1913.
Arden Leaves, June 1913.
^^"^ Arden Leaves, July 1913.
Arden Leaves, August 1913.
• the remaining space on the upper floors is to be house studios -- small
ones for individual use, and a larger one in which big classes can be held,
"after the manner of those which made Tuesday nights at the Academy of
Fine Arts so interesting in former days." Stephens is obviously thinking of
his own personal experiences at the Academy when he is planning for the
arrangement of space in the new craftshop.
1913 Charles Shandrew resigns as trustee; Kitty Ross comes on board
1915 Will Price writes "Peace Man or War Man," a plea for peace - written during WWI
1916 Wm Price dies
1922 Ardentown established on the former Harvey Farm (97 acres) and the Hanby Farm
1935 Frank Stephens dies - ashes buried below Arden's Field Theater.
1950 ArdenCToft established on 93 aaes to the south of Arden. ^^"^
February 1973 Arden added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Arden Map, 1910
A ^ DBN 'Ds L A WA KEL
Arden Deed of Trust
January 31, 1908
Deed of Trust
Amended January 31, 1908
And whereas the said conveyance of said lands was made upon certain trusts which it is desired by the
parties aforesaid (Stephens, Price, Martin) to restate and amend the said lands are hereby declared to be
held by the said William L. Price, Frank Martin and George F. [Frank] Stephens, upon the following trusts
and upon them only viz: in trust to lease such portions of said land as may seem good to the said trustees
and their successors, to such persons and for such terms as they the said trustees shall determine, the lease
in each case to reserve, as rent, the full rental value of the premises demised by said lease, to pay all State
and local taxes out of and from the rents received so far as these suffice to suffer all persons to whom all
land shall be leased as aforesaid, who constitute a community so long as they continue such leases, to enjoy
and use for common purposes such of the lands which are the subject of the deed as the trustees aforesaid
shall not have demised to individuals devoted to purposes other than common: to apply all sums of money
received as rents, in excess of the amount needed for the purposes of paying the taxes, to such common
uses, desired by a majority of the residents as in the judgment of the trustees, are properly public, in that
they cannot be left to individuals without giving one an advantage over others; and in further trust if at any
time in the judgement of a majority of the trustees the conununity shall not warrant its continuance to
declare the dissolution thereof, and thereupon to sell the land aforesaid and, after repaying to William L.
Price. George F. Stephens and Joseph Fels the amount originally advanced by them for the purchase of the
said land from David F. Derrickson, who made the title therefore to George F. Stephens by deed dated June
12, A.D. 1900, and recorded in the Recorder's office at Wilmington in the State of Delaware in Deed
Record Book G., Volume 18, p.345, etc. to devote the purchase money to such purpose as shall be
approved by said trustees. And the said trustees shall have power subject to the approval of a majority of
the residents to supply all vacancies which may occur in their number, which it is intended shall always be
and continue to be three; it being expressly hereby provided that upon all questions requiring the exercise of
disCTetion on the part of the trustees, the action of a majority, after an opportunity has been given to all to
express their opinion, shall be valid and binding upon all.
Arden Building Names
Building Names in Arden
The Bluebird [orig. The Vista]
The Chestnut Burr
The Green Gate
The Second Homestead
The Hurlong Camp
Ka Hale O Moi
The Little Roosevelt
Mary Bruce Inn (Jungalow)
Osnok (Saints Rest)
The Owls Nest
Single Tax Office
The Spreading Oak
The Strawberry Box
The Weaving Shop
Millers Rd & Woodland
[Later moved to Millers & Little La.]
2314 Cherry Lane
1704 Green Lane
2324 Cherry Lane
2320 Cherry Lane
1807 Green Lane
1905 Millers Road
2107 Hillside Road
2108 Sherwood Road
2104 MiUers Road
Millers Rd (next to Red House)
1709 Green Lane
1807 MiUers Road
2313 Woodland Lane
2205 Litde Lane
2210 The Sweep
2311 Woodland Lane
2401 Woodland Lane
2100 Harvey Road
2105 Sherwood Road
2209 Milky Way (Milky Way & Millers)
2321 Woodland Lane
2319 Wahiut Lane
1907 Millers Rd. (St. Martins Lane)
1801 Green Lane
2210 Lower Lane
1900 Sherwood Road
1807 Millers Road
2328 Cherry Lane
2212 The Sweep
1902 MiUers Road
2211 Lower Lane
2306 Wahiut Lane
1812 MiUers Road
1808 Harvey Road
HiUside and MiUers
2210 Litfle Lane
Louis Cohen Family
Edwin S. Potter
BuUt as Inn
Wm. R. Wood
* This list of names was compiled by the Arden Archives. The corresponding dates and owners, however,
were based on newspaper and other references.
Map and Key to Significant
Elements of Arden's Plan
Key to Significant Elements of Arden's Plan
Map Reference # Element
1 Field Theater
2 Arden Entrance Stile
3 Village Green
4 Sherwocxl Green
5 Arden Pool
6 Arden Church -- original location
7 Sherwood Forest
8 Arden Woods
9 Original location of Tennis Courts before Weaving Shop
10 Grubbs Comer
11 Little Arden
►J F U
a 8 5
ii [£ o £
Arden Map, 1992
Map and Key to Arden Buildings
Key to Arden Buildings
Chronological Listing of Arden Structures
Map Reference # Date
2313 Woodland Lane
Millers Rd & Woodland
[Later moved to Millers & Little]
23 14 Cherry Lane
1905 Millers Road
Osnok (Saints Rest)
1907 Millers Rd. (St. Martins Ln.)
1807 Millers Road
The Owls Nest
1801 Green Lane
2319 Walnut Lane
2310 Cherry Lane
The Second Homestead
2311 Woodland Lane
The Chestnut Burr
2108 Sherwood Road
2210 Little Lane
2107 HiUside Road
2205 Little Lane
1808 Harvey Road
2328 Cherry Lane
1900 Sherwood Road
1704 Green Lane
The Bluebird [The Vista]
2320 Cherry Lane
1709 Green I .ane
The Green Gate
2210 The Sweep
2209 Milky Way
Mary Bruce Inn (Jungalow)
2321 Woodland Lane
The Spreading Oak
2211 Lower Lane
1807 Millers Road
Millers Rd (next to Red House)
2212 The Sweep
The Weaving Shop
1812 Millers Road
Arden Map, 1992
Arden Land Rentals
Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25/09
Ira P. Andrews
R. Barclay Spicer
Mrs. A. G. Spicer
Hannah Weinstock •
Olive E. Meyer
Edyth von Wattenberg
Helen M. Harding
A. G. Spicer
James H. Fincken
Amy E. Wood
Charles F. Shandrew
Arthur N. Andrews
R. W. W. Clement
A. C. Kiehel
William R. Wood
L. M. Clark
T. W. Booth
F. J. Steinlein
R. R. Robinson
Arden Club Theatre
Anna E. English
J. L. Cole
E. H. Haworth
East corner Grubb's Lane and Marsh Road
South corner Marsh Road and Wind Lane
East comer Marsh Road and Wind Lane
Marsh Road east of Wind Lane
Marsh Road west of Miller's Road
South corner Miller's Road and Marsh Road
Miller'.s Road and Woodland Path
South comer Miller's Road & Mill Lane
Mill Lane west of Miller's Road
Hillside Road to Mill Lane
North comer Hillside Road and Wind Lane
Grubb's Lane east of Marsh Road
" . " west of Hillside Road
Miller's Road north of Hillside Road
West comer Miller's Road and Hillside Road
East " " " "
Hillside Road west of Miller's Road
East corner Grubb's Lane and Hillside Road
East side Grubb's Lane, south of Hillside
North comer Grubb's Lane and Little Lane
East " " "
South comer Little Lane and Miller's Road
Miller's Road and Camp Fire Path
" St. Martin's Lane
(( ( ( I. 11 it
North corner Miller's Road and Orleans Rd.
North side Orleans Rd. east of Grubb's Lane
North cor. Orleans Road and Grubb's Lane
ia Ki). ft
Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25/09
John E. Jenks
Charles F. Nesbit
^ * -dtn Tennis Club
' • Pels
F. Stephens (Red House)
Mary A. Simpson
Arden Improvement Co.
S. A. Clement
H. L. Kumme
H. G. Kumme
M. M. Moore
W. L. Lightbown
E. E. Moore
W. L. Price
Amy M. Hicks
Charles S hand re w
Location Area Rate
In sq. n per 1000
East comer Orleans Road and Grubb's Lane 40,000 .30
South " " " " Miller's Road 40,000 .35
West corner Milky Way and Miller's Road 46,000 .30
South corner The Sweep and Stile Path 15,000 .30
North corner The Sweep and Grubb's Lane 20,000 .30
East comer Cherry Lane and Miller's Road 20,000 .35
South side Cherry Lane east of " " 13,850 .30
North cor. Walnut Lane and " " 21,000 .30
North side Walnut Lane east of " " 30,000 .25
South side Cherry Lane east of " " 10,206 .35
South comer Cherry Lane and Inn Lane 25,116 .30
South comer Lower Lane and Miller's Road 20,000 .30
East comer Walnut Lane and " " 31,313 .25
South side Walnut Lane east of " " 28,730 .25
" " " " opposite Inn Lane 28,545 .25
" cast of Inn Lane 28,525 .25
" east of Green Lane 35,200 .25
East corner Walnut Lane and Green Lane 35,325 .25
East corner Village Green 74,100 .35&.25
South comer Village Green and Green Lane 35,000 .35&.25
Southeast side Village Green, S. Green Lane 40,000 .35&.25
East corner Village Green and Inn Lane 46,260 .35&.25
North comer Village Green and Green Lane 31,000 .35
Northeast side Village Green, N. Green Lane 13,125 .35
East comer Village Green and Creek Road 17,500 .35
West cor. Village Green and Theatre Path 16,000 .35
North " " " " " " 15,000 .35
West " " " Woodland Rd. 20,800 .35
North side Woodland Rd w. of Village Green 20,000 .35
Rear of Field Theatre 7,000 .35
North cor. Miller's Road and Woodland Rd. 20,000 .35
Naaman's Creek 20,000 .35
Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25,1 2
Leaseholder Location Area
in s'l. It.
Lewis Kramer East corner Grubbs and Marsh Roads 4-0,000
John B. Menz South corner Marsh Road and Wind Lane 19,535
Ira P. Andrews West side Wind Lane south af Marsh Road 19,930
Stella Andrews Grubbs Road east of Marsh Road 24-,075
Ir.nies H. Fincken. . ..Grubbs Road west of Hillside Road 60,497
R. D. Spicer East corner Marsh Road and Wind Lane 4-0,000
Mrs. A. G. Spicer. . . .Marsh Road east of Wind Lane 23,700
E. Gerstein .\L-irsh Road east of Wind Lane 4-7,400
Olive E. Meyer Marsh Road west of Millers Road 20,000
Letitia McKee South comer Millers Road and Marsh Road 50,691
John P. Donelly East corner .Millers Road and .Marsh Road 12,000
George Brown Millers Road and Woodland Path 44-,67(i
Joseph E. Cohen ^outh corner .Millers Road and Mill Lane 22,000
i-Ielen L. Eordner. . ..Mil! i..ane west of Mi'lers Road 20,000
Percy Russell. : I\rill Lane west of Millers Road 39,885
E. ^L Shandrew Hillside Road west of Millers Road 20,000
H. D. .Albright H I'.side Road to Mill Lane 19,000
.A. G. Spicer Xorlh corner Hillside Road and Wind Lane 20,000
.Amy E. Wood Millers Road north of Hillside Road 41,704
West corner Mil'ers Road and Hillside Road . . 16,300
C. F. Ward North corner Millers Road and Hillside Road 20,0o0
R. W. W. Clement. . .South side Hillside Road at Wood 52,309
A. C. Kiehel Millers Road from Little Lane to Hillside Road 53,570
Catherine French Hillside Road west of Millers Road 39,009
R. De Lan .Hillside Road west of Millers Road 31,331
IMoore Hillside Road west of Millers Road 20,C0Q
J. .McKendrick East corner Grubbs and Hillside Roads '..... 40,000
Horace Reis East side Grubbs Road south of Hillside Road. . . . 20,000
^L R. Fling. North corner Grubbs Road and Little Lane. . 40,098
Joseph Fels North side Little Lsne east of Grubbs Road 40,019.
E. Ross Hast corner Little Lane and Grubbs Road 23,500
Robert Woolery East of Grubbs Road south of Little Lane 28,865
Elizabeth Nusser South corner Little Lane and Millers Road 35,000
.Angela Marke .Millers Road and Camp Fire Path 40.000 .
Anna E. English North corner Millers Road and St. Martin's Lane. . 54,700
Frank' B. Downs East corner Millers Road and St. Martin's Lane. . . 35,000
n. Noble \'orth corner Millers Road and Orleans Road 30,000
E. H. Haworth North side Orleans Road east Grubbs Road. . . 20,000
J. H. Garrod North corner Orleans Road and Grubbs Road 32,630
A. .A. Taitavall East corner Orleans Road and Grubbs Road 30,145
.A. -A. Taitavall South corners Orleans Road and Millers Road. . . 40,000
Arden Club West corner Milky Way and Millers Road 20,000
W. Worthington, Jr-.North corner Milky Way and Grubbs Road 20,000
Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March 25,12
Leaseholder Location Area Rate Rent
in xq. ft. /.er IVOO
M. H. Hcefflcr Hast corner .Milky Way and Grubbs Road 20,000 .66 13.20
E. J. Darling West corner the Sweep and Millers Road 30,000 .72 21.60
L. Clark South corner the Sweep and Stile Path 15,000 .66 9.90
Fiske Warren Millers Road and Stile Path 10,000 .66 6.60
yp. Stephens Miller's Road, Stile Path and Lower Lane 20,000 .60 13.20
Earl Xelson Milltrs Road south corner Lower Lane 20,000 .66 13.20
F. Stephens ( Red House) East cor. Cherry Lane & Millers R'd. 18,850 .77 l-i.Sl
Harold Ware South side Cherry Lane east of Millers Road 15,000 72 and 59 9.S2
Frank Stephens. ... .Xorth corner Walnut Lane and Millers Road 21,000 .66 - 13.86
Donald Stephens Xorth side Walnut Lane east of Millers Road. .... 30,000 .59 17.70-.
Fiske Warren South side Cherry Lane east of Millers Road 10.206 .72 7.35
Frank Stephens South corner Cherry Lane and Inn Lane 7,116 .72 5.12
Frank Brunelle South side Inn Lane east of Cherry Lane 9,000 .61 5.49
Frank Brunelle West corner Walnut Lane and .Inn Lane 9,000 .61 5.49
E. Gerstein East corner Walnut Lane 28,800 .61 17.57
H. G. Kumme South side Walnut Lane west of Inn Lane 28,545 .59 16.84
L. Kumme South side Walnut Lane opposite Inn Lane 28,730 .58 16.66
Louise H. Kumme. . .Southeast side Lower Lane at Millers Road 7,000 .66 4.62
E. E. Moore South side Walnut Lane east of Inn Lane 28,525 .57 16.28
A. Dunbar South side Walnut Lane east -of Green Lane 35,200 .56 19.71
M. Beane East corner Walnut Lane and Green Lane 20,325 .53 10. (1
^ R. Rautenberg East side Walnut Lane near Green Lane 15,000 .55 8.25
W. L. Lightbown East corner Village Green 54,450 -A 72 and Vi.SS 36.12
G. Arlt Xorth corner Walnut and Green Lane.' 19,650 -.55 10.81
Joseph Pels East corner 'Village Green and Inn Lane 35.000 .72 and .57 22.57
Donald Stephens. . . .South corner Village Green and Green Lane 40,000 .72 and .57 25.80
E. E. Moore Southeast side \'illage Green south Green Lane. . . 4-6,260 .72 and .59 30.30
Charles Ervin Xorth corner Village Green and Green Lane •t4,125 .'77 33.98
Fred Whiteside East comer Village Green and Woodland Road 17,500 .77 13.48
. . R. Ervin ^->v.. .Xorth comer Village Green and Wood'land Road.-: .-10,000 -'_ .72 ,. ., ,7.2a
Scott Xearing ■; .West comer Village Green and Theatre Path. . .'. ;716,000 .77 12.32
U. Sinclair Xorth corner Village. Green and Theatre Path 15,000 .77 11.55
C. B. Currie West corner Village Green and Woodland Road. . . 20,800 .77 16.02
C. Shandrew Xaaman's Creek 20,000 .77 15.40
Frank Stephens Xorth side Woodland Road west of Village Green. . 37,415 .77 ^ 28.81
Arden Club Woodland Road 7,738 .77 5.96
M. Stephens Xorth corner Millers Road and Woodland Road. . . 29.610 .77 22.80
Geo. Brown, Jr..'. . . .South side Marsh Road west of Grubbs Road 20,000
Mary Brown South side Marsh Road west of Grubbs Road 20,000
H. Harrison ..West corner Marsh and Sherwood Roads 20,000
W. Hambly West of Sherwood, south of Marsh Road 40,000
Assessment of Arden Land Rentals for Year Beginning March25,'12
Leaseholder Location .4rea Hate Rent
itt .v^. tr.
W. F. Shaw W'est of Sherwood Road north of Hillside Roa<!. . . -tO.OOO
W. P. Nicolls West of Sherwood Road north of Hillside Road. . . 20,000
A. X. Tevis South corner Sherwood and Grubbs Roads 16,04-7
F. Harrison West side Grubbs Road north of Hillside Road. . . 40,000
H. Harrison East side Sherwood Road north of Hillside Road. . 10.000
W. E. Smith .Vorth corner Hillside and Sherwood Roads 30,000
Dr. Hurlong West corner Hillside and Grubbs Roads 20.000
T. W. Farrell Grubbs Road west of Hillside Road 20,000
Scott Xearing South corner Hillside and Sherwood Roads . . . 20.000
Scott Xearing .\orth corner Sherwood Road and Lovers' Lane. . . -tO.OOO
G. Hamilton West corner Lovers' Lane and Orleans Road 30.954-
Hal Ware Mast side Sherwood south of Hillside Road 4-9,046
J. P. Murphy West .Mde Sherwood Road south of Hillside Road. . 20,000
Simon Lobros West side Sherwood Road south of Hillside Road. . 20,000
L'pton Sinclair West corner Sherwood Road and Lovers" Lane. . . . 'JO.OOO
George Cohen South corner Sherwood Road and Lovers' Lane. . . 20.00(>
H. Harding West of Sherwood Road, north of Highway. . . 20,000
F. Shiebgen. West of Sherwood Road north of Highway 10,000
I. Reece West of Sherwood Road north of Highway 10,000
L. Clark. West of Sherwood Road nonh of Highway 20,000
E. S. Potter :• , . . .West corner Sherwood Road and Highway 20,000
E. S. Potter South comer Sherwood Road and Highway 20,000
C. L. Potter East corner Sherwood Road and Highway 20,000
S. C. Windle." South side Highway east of Sher^vood Road 20,000
A. Horton South side Highway east of Sherwood Road 20,000
Arden Club Highway and Orleans Road 90,065
J. H. Garrod South corner Orleans Road and Lovers' Lane 28,700
A. Horton South side Lovers' Lane west Orleans Road 20,000
A. Horton '. South side Lovers' Lane west Orleans Road 20,000
E. C. Gillette South side Lovers' Lane west Orleans Road 20,000
A. N. Tevis East comer Lovers' Lane and Sherwood Road 20,000
Hal Ware... . . ..... .South comer Grubbs and Hillside Roads 40,000
J. Taylor .Southwest side Grubbs Road east Hillside Road. . . 20,000
C. Finkclstcin . . . . .'. .Southwest side Grubbs Road east Hillside Road. . . 20,000
:■ W. C. Ferris '. . ;South comer Gmbbs Road and Lovers' Lane 22,000
' C F. Ward. . . . .... . .West side Grubbs Road south Lovers' Lane 20,500
D.McWilliams.r. .'.'.West side Grubbs Road south Lovers* Lane 20,500
bF;i'BruneU; : .S';>V^^^^ Orleans Roads 20,000
>'R. Binkleyi'.CtV;'^:^iNorA « Road west Grubbs Road 10,000
7li.i^ge^^r.|^^M-)^VNprU^^ Grubbs Road 10,000
4;J*^^eU. v?'§S«^'P^H'?^tttK»r^^ and Grubbs Road..... 40,000
ijt^yirM^p^oote.^^^w^^^^ of Orleans Road 40,000
mmi^Cbii^f^^^ .::..v:, lo.ooo
t^w.^,-)- . . — »■ . ..,j t»>n lBtf?D«<idfofcTrp»t, Pom of Leased Constitntion, etc..
fMT«M$ii)ltApl!m^lf''^9<ii*nf<>^iSe, :BlwFTintm*pAt ume price, but
'>^:^fC^H^v't'^j^iS^^'1|S* ?**^f^i**^^^''* **^^ madkfow.dm (nut b« allowed (or making:.
-viiBitf^SS^i^^^fis^^I^liaiM^ Town 0«tk of chang* of address.
61 and .50
Poem from Frank Stephens to William Price
To Will Price
October 14, 1916
Good-by a little. Strange and far away
The once familiar places that we knew,
Empty the dull round of the dreary day
Through which of old the sunlit hope would play.
That it might bring me - you.
It was so Beautiful that Land-we-dreamed
Toward which we toiled together, you and I
So very near at times its hilltops gleamed,
So near and fair that pleasant country seemed.
And now — Good-by.
That City of the Blessed to which our feet
Trod the rough way, bright-spired it rose and
Such joyous, pleasant folk we looked to meet
As we wander through it, street by street.
And now ~ Good-by.
Good-by, but where to seek you? May it be
Now, even as the darker grows the way.
That you have found our Country-of -the-Free
And in its Wondrous City wait for me.
Good-by — until Some Day.
(Song written by Frank Stephens following Will Price's death.)
National Register Nomination Form, 1973
NATIONAL RCCISTER Of mVT0nC^Pl£»Ce&3 r C
IMVEHTOSY - MOMIMATKWsFCMHk
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M^,^K a«^^ N.»««f,']| (;rg^} ^^ Ardentotm anA BnincorTx>rated areas
^ CLMJIF I CATION _
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H- LOCATtbw or ttOAt. BtSCWyTION
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tlM pt*«ent district, rou^l^^sqoaxe^r coincides i»itl^the~to»itt' -
booixUrlcs and cavers about 163 acxea*: : 0!^:tii«««v-7-9 are:^devio(tedfe. . ^
to public use; the otb«r 84 acre* are leas«d.,ifor boaes±tcs-. On ^i, . ^
the eastern and wvrtem borders of the toHnslte la. f ore*t_.;laxtdi£ -,. ■-
several hundred yards deep, eerving; for recreation', consesvation,
and as a buffer against neighboring developnents.' Xwo^laccge vHdage^
greens, each forming a neighborhood, focus ^ other open spacesi.and- a
network of ccanunlty roadMays and pedestrian paths occupy:tfae-
remaining public land. The town is unequally bisected by Harvey~
Road (Del. 209).
Clustered betveeft the twe forests are 190 leaseholds of. froa:
about 10,000 to over 6O,000 square feet each, (total 84 acres).
Baildiags, placed randOBljr on- tbelx lots,, and built principally ;ln-
the period 1900-1950, are- notably varied in- «at«triAa , sty le^^^ else and
value . Natural growths of trees and shrubs having been protected
and plantings fostered since 1900, the entire town tract now has a.
Of especial interest Is the Gmbb faaily burying -ground , witli
gravestones dating bade to the aid-lSth century. This is cared for
by the Trustees of Arden, as stipulated in the Trust Deed.
Hm Gild />i£7 U»ll> the clubhouse of the Arden Clvb (all
residmts &re ipelcoaed as aeabers), is the refurbished bam found
on the property .«l)cn. Ardua was.Joaod^d. It is-, in fact, the focus
of conunity affairs , both civic and recreational.. The original
farahouse also is still staitding, but has been rebuilt.
Aaong the early Arden houses are the "Hcaestead", an
Elixabethan-style building iriilch was the late Prank Stephens' hoae;
"Rest Cottage"; the "Lodge"; axvi several other English-cottage-type
half-tiabered btiildings, with interesting carving... The carving and
the stained glass found In the earliest Ard«i houses were the work
of Arden artisans.
Tlte Craft Shop, ableh formerly housed a forge and furniture
shop, as well as the studio of sculptor Stei^tens, is still preserved
at a comer of tbe Ardea Green. Also structurally intact is the
Arden Weaving Shop, where craftsaen wove until tbe late 1940 's.^
Boundaries: Booaded on the north by Marsh Road (Del. 3), <oa-
the east by Naaaan's Cre^, on the south by Ardentom, Meadow Lane
and tbe coar9«»«sf''Aboatt (Cochran '•) Creckv and on- the west by a„
straight line with land fomerly of Janes Cochran, all nore fully- ..-:
described in a deed dated January 21, £901, filed in the office of
the Recorder of Deeds,- New Castle County.
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STATCMCMT O^ «««M*r*CAMC«
Ax den deserves pxesexvation for several reasoiw :
1. Founded in 1900, in thei' tradition nf Utopiai^ coiBsmaiti«s-, it .,
is one of the few mvch experimental colonies t< siKceed amf survives j^'
to the present in a reasonable approximation of the original intest.
In Axden, that intent was to demonstrate the workability of the
land value theory, ;>opularly known as "the Single Tax", of th«- ■
political economist Henry George (1839-1897). Axden is the only
exai^le in the United States of an entire village still operatlog
on a Single Tax basis. (See htote A: Arden and. the Single Tax)
2. Axden is a plooeering exa:q>le of successful town planning.
Although it was planned at the beginning of this cantury, it
embodies urban design concepts that are gaining wide acceptance
70 years later. The. town's planners. Prank Stephens, sculptor,,
and Will ^ice, architect, employed cluster development, conserva'tio^
of woodlands, generous use of open space and separation of
vehicular and pedestrian traffic by the use of pedestrian paUis.-
3. Axden is unique fox IvS highly developed participatory
democracy, based on a .functioning town meeting fsm of jn irn— iit
Ihe original village uawd a town meeting, wtiieh hfta >■■.» formallced.
and stx«igthened in recent years . The town has been incorporated
by the state and the Town Assembly of the Village oi Arden has mivmxjf;
power any municipality may have in Delaware.
4. Arden has been f roK; its inception and still is a center of art,,
music, drama and craftsmanship both for its townspe^le and the
surrounding area. As admirers of Pre-Raphaelite wrlter-artlst
William Morris (1834-1896), Aiden's fonndexa saw their village as
a Bjy o^ 9zeat. freedom and beauty where creative and performing
artswooid be part ofj dally £S£e. Beca)»e-i the- pexformancer of .^
Shakespeare's plays was considered by them to be the best way to
bccoae persuasive orator sr in spreading the Georgist land value
theory, the founders boUt an open air theatre before any
permanent houses were contru cted. That- theatre, whexe
9iakeapearean play* were ^ performed weekly. Is preserved in memory
of Prank Stephens and i» still used for outdoor drama productions
and for cr— minity events.
' DirAATMCMT Of TNC wrnKM
lOHAt. p^mc isnnct
NATIONAL KICISTtt OP NtSTOfflC KACES
INVENTOKT . NOMMATWN rOtM
(Can timm ttoB Sheet)
tNumtmf mil mi**rl9»)
8. SICgtIFICANCE (continued)
5. Arden has preserved a tr»ie village with ._ deep sense of community
among residents who are highly diverse in age, political, economic,
educational and ethnic characteristics. This community, moreover,
has maintained its identity although surrounded by typical developments
of an urban sprawl, and despite normal p<^>ulation fluidity from the
time of its founding. It is significant that many children and
grandchildren of Arden's early "colonists" return to Ajden to live,
as do many former resident*. There is always a waiting list for houses
in the village. Tbere is no more land to be leased.
The coooBunity is a unique physical, and social entity to be
protected. The fxindamental significance of the' Single Tax village of
Arden is that a cooBunity foozxled on ideas attracts diverse people -c
interested in ideas, and such people— even though the individuals and
families change over the years -continue to build and matlntain a
living caoBtunlty of self -renewing vitality.
Arden's ^lllty to continue its historic, cultural, educational, -.
civic, econoalc and social functions for Its own residents ajad tor
the nelgU>orlng aze<k ^lepends on preserving Its physical integrity.
This is potentially threatened by Increasing traffic on Harvey Road, .'
and by population pressures in the adjacent neighborhood.
uwiee »T*T«% otPMTHeiT o» Tut MTt«<o*
/ . ( i'MAc r*M tcavict ■ >
NATIONAL KfCISTE* OF mSTOMC PLACtS
IMVCNTOtY ■ NOMWAIMMFOaM
i T«ew Caitte
f^omftn use oi«,T'.
(Mtiwbvf mil M*
NOTE A: ARDEN AND THE SINGLE TAX
Arden was founded in 190O as an e]q>«rinen'tal community to carry
out th« land value theory of Henzy George, the Influential 19tb.
century American political econunist (1839-1897). This th«ory, as.
advocated by George in his popular book, ProoTcas and Poverty (Z879), «
is based on the belief that the source of all wealth is the land-; that,
if the land is owned by the conmunity and the "fulX' economic rent" is
charged for '.ts use, the accruing funds will provide enough money Yo
operate the government, with no need for other taxes. The land tax
would theoretically force the best possible use of the laoid and
eliminate the type of unproductive speculator trtio lets land stand idle
to increase in value. To the present, Arden operates under the Single..
Tax land valuation systen, serving as a working model of Henry George *s
The legal docuttent which provides for Arden 's tax system is- the
Deed of Trus't, established, by the founders of the town, Friknk Stephens
and Will Price. All Arden land is owned, by the Trustees of Arden, who^
adminis-tex- the tzxist for tb*- benef iciaxies , the iixiividuals who lease .
the land. There ax* three trustees, who serve- for life. The approval
of a majority of all the residents is required to select a new tcustee.
The trustees issue 99'-jrcaz lease*, to individuals who pay an annual tax
or land rent, based on the total square feet of land leased. In turn,..
the trustees use the land rent money to pay county- and school taxes
and other outside obligations of the coanunity. The surplus is
available to the Town Assembly, the local governing -body, whose btidgetj
set by the elected Budget Coaa^ttee, mu*t be approved by a majority
of all the residents, to benefit the entire conmunity.
The annual land rent Is set by a sevcn-aan Board of Assessor*,
•lect«d annually by the Hare system of proportional representations
It is the sworn duty of tb* assessor* to xletermlne^the "full rental
value" of ^jSe^Biya^^isia^ GeoKgist pr±nclpl«a^ -and> thereby ..to
calculate the yearly base xental rate for the- land«
Because of Ard*n'* small population, the government is close to
the pe^le and a relatlveJLy large niHt>er of residents- are active in
Town Assembly affair*.
— t-OCMAWWOH. tUMttllCtt
A iOde o thm Ft«^
Bckaann, J«*i( tt«^ Jid other.
New York. 19S5.
Arden Archives In custody at Historical Society of DelMnr*
Congre»«lon»l Research Service, A Study of Pronerttr Taxarlo^ For
United States Senate r«_>4| ^ pp Goverment OperZtT^;;;;
hbbhington, D.C. 1971.
Rue, Anita Wilson, Arden Revel, "n-fyf^^ unpubUshed Master's thesis]
University of Delaware, Newark, 1961. '
Wynn, Robert, The Full Rental Value: A Study of the Xax Rate in !
Arden, Using Single Tax Theory; Master's thesis. U. of D. Ne»arl| .
Fwi. CtOOWAyMtCAU DAT*
t.*T>ruOC AMD CO^tAiTUOC C0O«O«NATCa
39* 48 • 56" •
39* 48 - 56 *,
39* 48 • 25 *
39* 48 • g« •
D l» n «, *>.«•»• W««a4>
75* 29* 40'
75* .?8" 47*
75* 28' 47'
LATiTUOC a««0 k <>••&• 'OC t COO«3>MA ▼««
^ * T- »00«
D^y— M«Mw*»« Wc«M«
u :,«s6' t^jC*
NO COUMTIC* »0« »«»0*««TtBS OVCIIk.*^ **«»• STATC O^ CCc"-
• Oo"iC *••€•
:!niry^*^'^ ■ ' ?■ ■ '
Ci—iiii1ty Plannino Ca—itt— . ViUaoe of Arden
0« • * *•( Z * rt OM
2110 Wind Lane
ftTRC«T AMD MvMMSM;
A* tka 4m(iM(rd Stat* L i j w aa OOacvr (or dte Ma'
tlonal Htuanc Praacrvatioa Ad of IS66 (Puktic I^«
•S46S). I li« n by mamiimf ikta | | n |i n| (or i wcl — t —
la t^ HatlgMl |tasl«<M a««.^i>>t>lT4kM M ka« kMa
roalaalad ii i w<i«t I* the ctimw»^«»* guc i it i w —
fwik br Um NMUmI Pw* SotvIc*. Tk> n r i»i iiiii
l»*al e( »igiiltr««c« ft thi* .MMBUas to:
HatMMl a !■•(• a L«ca> O
Dr. B. Berkeley Towpkiis
mrieitM. tecisTC« vcwrieaTicii
t kafaby cvftify ihai ilua prspaflir ia ncludad in <
NatioaLRatiataT. - •
CMaf. O/Hca al Archmolatr fd Himtmic Pn
ICaapar ot Th* Watianal ITaCiMar
Price and Dickey Commissions
in Arden and Ardencroft
Price & Dickey Commissions
The Price architectural tradition was carried on by William L. Price's son William Webb
Price. In the 1950's, roughly 40 years after the death of his father, William W. Price and
his partner John M. Dickey were commissioned to design several Arden and Ardencroft
buildings. Included among these are:
Emanuel Gerstine Residence
Michael Jaffe Residence
Robin Hood Theater, additions
James Steen Residence, alterations
Don Stephens Residence, additions
Edmund Hourlong Residence, additions
Andrew Kappel Residence
Stanley Lintner, proposed residences
David McClintock, proposed residence
Herb Stevens Residence, alterations
The above list represents the buildings attributed to the firm Price & Dickey of Media,
PA. The drawings of these houses are in the Price & Dickey collection at the Athenaeum
Books and Published Materials
Bloor, Ella Reeve, ^f^e Are Many. NY: International Publishers Co., Inc., 1940.
Canby, Henry Seidel. Age of Confidence: Life in the Nineties. NY: Farrar & Rinehart,
Downing, Andrew Jackson. The Architecture of Country Houses. 1850. Reprint. NY:
DaCapo Press, 1968.
George, Henry. Progress and Poverty. 1879. Reprint. NY: Robert Schalkenback Foun.,
Hering, Oswald. Concrete and Stucco Houses. NY: McBride, Nast & Co., 1912.
Hooper, Charles Edward. The Country House. NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1906.
Howard, Ebenezer. Garden Cities of Tomorrow. 1902. Reprint. London: Faber and
Faber Ltd., 1946. This book was originally published in 1898 as Tomorrow: A
Peaceful Path to Real Reform.
Kemp, Harry. Tramping On Life: An Autobiographical Narrative . NY: Boni and
Liveright Publishers, 1922.
Miller, Joseph Dana. Single Tax Year Book. New York, NY: Single Tax review
Publishing Co., 1917. (HGS).
Morris, William. News From Nowhere. 1890. Reprint. London: Longmans, Green and
Price, W.L. Model Houses for Little Money. Philadelphia: Curtis Publishing Company,
Sears, Roebuck and Co. Our Special Catalog for Homebuilders. 1910. Reprint. NY:
Dover Publications, Inc., 1990.
Sinclair, Upton. The Autobiography of Upton Sinclair. NY: Harcourt, Brace & World,
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. NY: Doubleday, 1906. Reprint. NY: Viking Penguin, Inc.,
Squires, Frederick. The Hollow Tile House. NY: The William T. Comstock Co., 1913.
Stephens, Frank. Some Songs. Arden, DE: The Arden Press, 1935.
Stickley, Gustav, ed. Craftsman Bungalows. NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1988.
Stickley, Gustav. Craftsman Homes. 1909. Reprint. NY: Dover PubUshing Co., Inc.,
Stickley, Gustav. More Craftsman Homes. 1912. Reprint. NY: Dover Publishing Co.,
Tomlinson, Genevieve, comp. Addresses of Everett S. Tomlinson. Chicago: W.H.
Manuscripts and Unpublished Works
Arden Papers. (HSD).
AssessmentofArdenLandRentals, 1909, 1912. Arden Papers. (HSD).
"Frank Stephens -- Travel Talks and Lectures." 1909-1910 Season. Frank Stephens
Clippings File. (PAFAL). A pamphlet advertising Stephens' lecture senes,
including talks on Europe, American politics, economic reform, Shakespeare, and
even Arden itself.
Fels, Joseph Papers. (HSP).
Minutes of the Ethical Society Board of Trustees, 1885 - 1892. (ES).
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Student Records. (APAFA).
Philadelphia Sketch Club Membership Book. Archives of American Art Microfilm
Price Office Work Album. (AOP).
Price, Susanna Martin. "The Story of the Price Lightfoot Family." 1929. (FHLSC).
Ross, Katherine F. "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met." February 8, 1949.
Arden Papers. (HSD).
Stephens, Alice Barber. "Personality of William L. Price." Box 19. Arden Papers.
Stephens, G. Frank. "Autobiography." Undated. Arden Papers. (HSD).
Journal and Newspaper Articles
Arden Advocate, 1902. (AA).
Arden Club Talk, 1908 - 1909. (AA).
Arden Leaves, 1910-1913. (AA).
"Arden, The Single Tax Colony Just in its Winter Sleep." Arden
Scrapbook, 1912. (HSD).
Cohen, James E. Arden. 1907. Reprint. Arden, DE: Arden Printery, 1910.
Congdon Herbert Wheaton. "Building a Church for a Small Congregation." The
Architectural Record. Vol. 27, 161-173, 1910.
CoveU Alwyn T. "Returning to the Casement Window." The Architectural Record.
'vol. 33,437-443, 1913.
David Arthur C. "An Architect of Bungalows in California." The Architectural Record.
'vol. 20, 307-315, 1906.
_. "Many Ardenites are Sore Today." June 27, 1910. Arden Scrapbook,
Price William, Hawley McLanahan, and Horace Traubel, eds. The Artsman. Moylan,
' PA: Rose Valley Press, 1903-1908.
Price William L. "Choosing Simple Materials for the House" in Country Homes and
Gardens of Moderate Cost. ed. by Charles F. Osborne. Philadelphia: John C.
Winston Co., 1907.
Price, WUliam L. "Decorative Treatment of Plaster Walls." The Brickbuilder. Vol. 20,
Price, William L. "The House of the Democrat." The Craftsman. Vol. 21, pp. 2, 191 1.
Price, Will. "Peace Man or War Man." Committee on Philanthropic Labor, Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1915. Arden Papers. (HSD).
Price William. "A Philadelphia Architect's Views on Architecture." The American
' Arc/i/r^cr, October 24, 1903,pp.27-8.
Priestman, Mabel Tuke. "The Summer Camp at Arden Being an Experiment in Henry
George Principles." American Homes and Gardens, V, May 1908, pp. 180-3.
"Restoring to the Home its Individuality." New York Tribune. Arden
Scrapbook, 1912. (HSD).
Spencer, Robert C. "Building a House of Moderate Cost." The Architectural Record.
Vol. 32, 37-45, 1912.
Friends' Intelligencer. Philadelphia, November 1 1, 1916. In this issue a tribute was
made in memory of W.L. Price. (FHLSC).
Atlas of the State of Delaware. Philadelphia, PA: Pomeroy & Beers, 1868. (HSD).
Atlas of New Castle County. Philadelphia, PA: G. Wm. Baist, 1893. (HSD).
Bellefonte Map, Sanborn Map Company, July, 1936. (PFL).
United States Geological Survey Map. "Marcus Hook, PA - Del. - NJ," 1948. (MLGD).
United States Geological Survey Map. "Marcus Hook, PA - Del. - NJ," 1953. (MLGD).
"Arden 1900-1975," 1975. (HSD).
Register of Deeds, Wilmington, DE. Deed Book G17, p.345, June 12, 1900.
Register of Deeds, Wilmington, DE. Deed Book V18, p.36, October 17, 1901.
Register of Deeds, Wilmington, DE. Deed Book V21, p.84, January 31, 1908.
Books and Published Materials
Ayres, William, ed. A Poor Sort of Heaven... A Good Sort of Earth: The Rose Valley Arts
and Crafts Experiment. Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine River Museum, 1983.
Catalog from 1983 exhibit of Rose Valley Arts and Crafts, Brandywine River
Mus., Chadds Ford, PA.
Bender, Thomas. Toward an Urban Vision: Ideas and Institutions in Nineteenth Century
America. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975.
Boorstin, Daniel J. The Americans: The National Experience. NY: Vintage Books,
Brevda, William. Harry Kemp: The Last Bohemian. Cranbury, NJ: Assoc. Univ.
Christensen, Carol A. The American Garden City and the New Towns Movement. Ann
Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1986.
Delaware Art Museum. Artists in Wilmington 1890-1940. Wihnington, DE: Delaware
Art Museum, 1980.
Dudden, Arthur P. Joseph Pels and the Single Tax Movement. Philadelphia, PA: Temple
University Press, 1971.
Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. Delaware: A Guide to
the State. 1938. Reprint. NY: Hastings House, 1955.
Fels, Mary. Joseph Fels: His Life-Work. NY: B.W. Huebsch, 1916.
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AA = Arden Archives, Arden, DE
AOP = Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
APAFA = Archives of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
ES = Ethical Society, Philadelphia, PA
FFAL = Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
FHLSC = Friends Historical Library ofSwarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
HGS = Henry George School, Philadelphia, PA
HSD = Historical Society of Delaware, Wilmington, DE
HSP = Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MLGD = Map Library, Geology Dept., Hoyden Hall, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Phila., PA
PAFAL = Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Library, Philadelphia, PA
PEL = Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, PA
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